City Council Approves Burien Minimum Wage Ordinance

Burien’s first local minimum wage to take effect January 1, 2025. The ordinance took into consideration many perspectives, including local workers, small businesses, and labor organizations. 

On March 18, 2024, the Burien City Council passed Ordinance No. 837, marking a significant milestone in the City of Burien’s labor policies. The ordinance establishes Burien’s first local minimum wage, positioning it among the highest in the nation. This new minimum wage will undergo annual adjustments based on the cost of living.

The ordinance is designed to strike a balance between supporting local workers and considering the impacts on the economy, particularly Burien’s vital small business community. To accommodate different scales of operation, the ordinance defines three categories of employers and sets corresponding minimum wage rates and effective dates.

Here’s a breakdown of the employer categories and their respective minimum wage requirements:

  • Level 1 Employer: This category includes employers with over 500 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in King County or franchisors employing more than 500 FTEs in aggregate. Starting January 1, 2025, Level 1 employers must pay their employees a minimum wage that is at least $3.00 higher than Washington state’s hourly minimum wage.
  • Level 2 Employer: Encompassing businesses with 21 to 499 FTEs in King County, Level 2 employers must pay their employees a minimum wage that is at least $2.00 higher than Washington State’s  hourly minimum wage, effective July 1, 2025.
  • Level 3 Employer: This category includes businesses with 20 or fewer FTEs, which are exempt from the ordinance.

The decision to implement a local minimum wage followed careful deliberation and consultation with Burien businesses, labor organizations, and community members. Prior to passing the ordinance, the City Council tasked the Business and Economic Development Partnership (BEDP) with studying the issue. The BEDP, along with a facilitator, produced a report titled “Minimum Wages and Burien Local Economy,” which provided valuable insights for the City Council’s review.

Furthermore, the City Council sought additional input by engaging with stakeholders and examining minimum wage ordinances in neighboring cities. After multiple rounds of review and discussion over the course of several meetings, the City Council ultimately approved Ordinance No. 837, which will go into effect January 1, 2025.

Looking ahead, the City is committed to supporting businesses in complying with the new minimum wage regulations. Plans include creating educational materials and conducting outreach to inform Burien business owners and members of the community who work in Burien about the upcoming changes. These efforts aim to ensure an informed transition to the new minimum wage requirements.

Learn more at burienwa.gov/MinimumWage.

Economic Development Manager at City of Burien
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