“As it stands now, Seattle is not in our discussions for future growth or expansion.”

June 23, 2014

Today The Seattle Times featured business owners who are grappling with how to deal with Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage law.  While sobering, none of the business owners’ reactions to the mandated high wage are surprising.

The owner of a small, family-run hotel said he plans to raise room rates and reduce workers’ hours (but not their job duties):

“Rooms have to be cleaned faster, and if people underperform, instead of working with them more, we’re going to have to let them go.”

That same hotel owner also said that while he typically works with local colleges to train and mentor young employees, that will be more difficult with the mandated $15 wage.

“Could I explain to my family, the owners, why I’m spending time to train people when I could hire someone who’s fully trained and ready to go?”

A local restaurant company said that since their servers earn an average of $31.50 per hour in tips on top of their current base wage rate of $9.32 per hour (busers average an additional $12.50 per hour in tips), the restaurant may now include a service charge on customer’s bills in lieu of tips.  The service charge would be used by the company to help offset the increased wage costs.  The company is also considering reducing employees’ health care benefits by raising the eligibility requirements from the current 25 hours per week to at least 30 hours.

One business owner said the new wage requirement makes investing in new equipment or hiring more workers “next to impossible.”  As he succinctly put it:

“As it stands now, Seattle is not in our discussions for future growth or expansion.”