Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan on Thursday to raise the minimum wage in Seattle to $15 per hour over three to seven years, making it the first major U.S. city to commit to such a high base level of pay.
The plan is the product of a committee convened by the mayor, including labor and business leaders, that spent 16 weeks negotiating a compromise deal. It must still be approved by Seattle's City Council before it becomes binding on employers.
Under the terms of the plan, small businesses with fewer than 500 workers must raise wages to a minimum of $15 per hour over the next seven years. Those with more than 500 workers must meet that level within three years.
Once the $15 level is reached, further rises will be linked to cost of living increases, said Murray, a Democrat who took office in January with a $15 minimum-wage law as one of his administration's objectives.