Renton’s minimum wage measure is passing in early vote counts

If passed, Initiative Measure No. 23-02 would make Renton’s minimum wage one of the highest in the nation.

Renton voters will decide whether the community will adopt one of the highest minimum wages in the nation during this February special election as they vote on Initiative Measure No. 23-02.

As of early results Feb. 13, about 17.49 percent of registered voters in Renton have had their votes counted, with 10,277 votes counted of 58,745 registered voters.

The most recent vote counts reported at 8:03 p.m. Feb. 13 indicate that 5,891 voters (57.50%) have voted in favor of the measure, and 4,354 voters (42.50%) have voted against it.

About the ballot measure

The current minimum wage in Renton is $16.28 per hour as of Jan. 1, and is monitored and mandated at the state level. If passed, Initiative Measure 23-02 would compel businesses in Renton that employ at least 15 employees, or have annual gross revenue of over $2 million to pay employees a minimum of $20.29 per hour for large employers and $18.29 for smaller covered employers, according to the city.

The lower wage would be phased to equal that of large employers in two years, and the wage would be adjusted for inflation annually, according to the city’s webpage on the initiative.

Tips and service charges paid to employees in the service industry are in addition to, and may not count toward, the employee’s hourly minimum wage.

The initiative also has provisions that create regulations about when hours must be offered to part-time employees before making new hires or subcontracting work; creates rules against retaliation; and creates requirements that the city must create and enforce rules, including a compliance certification for all businesses.

If it passes in the Feb. 13 special election, the policy would take effect on July 1, 2024.