Smells Like Teen Employment


Senator Mike Baumgartner. Image Credit:

Recently the Seattle city council elected to enact a 15 dollar minimum wage, with plans for it to be fully adopted by 2021. Meanwhile, Washington state legislature has been presented with Senate Bill 5422, which will drop the minimum wage of those under the age of twenty from the state minimum wage of $9.47 to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Sen. Mike Baumgartner (R-Spokane) introduced the bill, with the goal being to increase Washington teen employment rates.

However, this isn’t the first bill of its kind. Former Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry (R-Moses Lake) supported a bill that would allow employers to pay teens a training wage of 85% of the normal minimum wage for the first 680 hours on the job. The bill was never passed, as Hewbry left the Washington Senate to pursue Congress.

Public opinion on the bill has been a fairly even split. Those arguing for the bill suggest that it will help create a rise in teen employment, giving young people more job experience. Opponents of the bill argue that the bill is unfair to young people, especially if they’re trying to pay for school tuition. While there is no definite way to determine how this will affect teen employment rates, we can hope that it will create a positive change if it is passed.