Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Director's Message: Minimum Wage Increase

Dear early learning professional,

As you know, Initiative 1433 to increase Washington State’s minimum wage passed this year with pretty large margins. This initiative provides for an increase in the minimum wage to $11.00 on January 1, and incremental increases until the wage rises to $13.50 in 2020. The initiative also requires paid sick leave for many employees.

We recognize that this wage increase can be seen as a two-sided coin. Wages for some of our lowest-paid educational workers and for some of the families you serve will rise to get a lot closer to a liveable wage. However, child care providers as business owners will face a significant financial pressure to raise rates to cover the cost of these increases.

We are aware that this initiative will present fresh challenges for some providers, and we are trying to better understand these implications from both an individual and systems level. The Department of Early Learning is generating a cost model for the Legislature to help them understand the constraints that private pay and subsidy childcare providers face with this new financial reality. While we do not have any shareable details at this time, we intend to make this analysis available to the public in December.

I would not normally write to all providers until we had more details to share, but many of you have written or called with concerns about this and I want you to know we’re hearing you and taking the steps available to us to provide you with more information.

Please look out for more information in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some resources that may help explain the new law: 


Ross Hunter

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