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2012 Will See Large Minimum Wage Increase In Oregon and Washington

December 22, 2011

By Michael G. McClory


Effective January 1, 2012, the minimum wage rate is going up in Oregon and Washington. This will be second year in a row with minimum wage increases in both states.

Oregon: Oregon's minimum wage will increase by 30 cents to $8.80/hour (up from $8.50/hour).

Oregon law requires the Bureau of Labor and Industries to adjust Oregon’s minimum wage annually based on the federal Consumer Price Index. In raising the minimum wage, BOLI cited a 3.77% CPI increase (August 2010-August 2011). The 2012 Oregon Minimum Wage Poster is available for download on the BOLI website. This is the second straight year with a minimum wage increase. For 2011, following a slight increase in the federal CPI, the minimum wage increased by 10 cents. There were no changes to Oregon’s minimum wage in 2009 or 2010 because the federal CPI did not increase.

Washington: Washington's minimum wage will increase by 37 cents to $9.04/hour (up from $8.67/hour).

As in Oregon, Washington law also requires the Department of Labor & Industries to adjust Washington's minimum wage annually based on the federal CPI. As a result, this is the second straight year with a minimum wage increase in Washington. For 2011 the minimum wage increased by 12 cents. L&I made no changes to Washington’s minimum wage for 2009 or 2010. Interestingly, L&I announced that it will no longer publish a separate poster listing the new minimum wage each time the wage changes.

Federal: The federal minimum wage will continue to be $7.25/hour. However, because employers must pay the higher of the federal minimum wage or the state minimum wage, it is the state minimum wage that will continue to control in Oregon and Washington.

We will continue to monitor wage and hour developments. Please feel free to contact Bullard Law with any questions regarding minimum wages or any other labor, employment and benefits issues. 

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