Study: Seattle Minimum Wage Hasn’t Cut Jobs

By Gene Johnson, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law has boosted pay for restaurant workers without costing jobs, a new study shows.

The report, from the University of California at Berkeley, is certain to add to the debate as activists around the country push for increases in local, state and federal minimum wages.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its official release, focused on food service jobs, which some critics said could be disproportionately affected if increased wages forced restaurants to cut workers’ hours.

Author Michael Reich says that hasn’t been the case.

“Our results show that wages in food services did increase — indicating the policy achieved its goal,” the study said.

Last year, University of Washington researchers found mixed results for the Seattle law, which phases in an increase to $15 an hour by 2021.

They said the law appeared to have slightly reduced the employment rate of low-wage workers even as it boosted pay.

In 2014 Seattle became one of the first cities to adopt a law aiming for a $15 minimum wage. San Francisco changed its wage around the same time.

Seattle’s law gave small businesses employing fewer than 500 people seven years to phase it in. Large employers had to do so over three or four years, depending on whether they offer health insurance to their employees.

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