Minimum wage increasing to $13.50 starting January

It is an increase of $1.50 over the current minimum wage
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Photo courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon
Copyright KXLY 4 News Now

SPOKANE, Wash. — If you’re making minimum wage, you’ll be getting a raise soon. Minimum wage will increase $1.50 on January 1. It’s good news for employees but could be rough for small business owners.

Employee Carter Davis is sprinkling cheese onto a pizza at Pizza Rita when the phone rings. He wipes his hands and then goes to answer the phone.

“I make the pizzas, answer the phones, ring the cashier when people come in and also run the oven,” Davis said of his duties.

If it were a chain restaurant, there might be different people for each of those positions. In a small business, though, Davis does it all. He makes more than minimum wage. His boss Brian Dickmann, the owner of Pizza Rita, says all his employees will be getting a raise once the new year hits. Some will be increasing with minimum wage.

When minimum wage increases in January, it’ll be the last of four increases from Initiative 1433 that voters passed in 2016. Starting 2021, minimum wage will increase with inflation.

Dickmann is used to the increase because he’s been having to do it for the last few years. In 2017, Dickmann raised the price of his toppings. Since then, prices have remained the same. However, he will be increasing his delivery charges by a dollar this time around.

“It’s the way it is. We have to stay in business. The people wanted the raise, it’s good for the employees,” Dickmann said.

He said he won’t be laying off anyone, but if any of his employees quit, he won’t be looking to fill those positions. He said it might be tough next year for people looking for a new job, because he won’t “be hiring as many.” In the new year, he added that he said workers might see fewer hours, too.

Dickmann said the wage hike will cost him almost $80,000 next year.

“It’s been quite an increase,” he said. However, he’s happy to be serving Spokane for the last 30 years and hopes to continue to do so.

Washington isn’t alone in increasing minimum wage. According to the National Employment Law Project, 21 states and 26 cities will be upping its pay come the new year.