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How Seattle's Mayor Plans To Enforce The Minimum Wage

A supporter of Seattle's increased minimum wage carries a sign outside city hall.

With the passage of a complicated minimum wage law in Seattle, officials want to ensure the law is easily understood.  The mayor is proposing a new office called the Office of Labor Standards, that would serve as a clearinghouse for information and enforcement.

In the city of SeaTac, employees at a parking lot company complained they were not getting the $15 an hour they were due.  They wound up suing their employer.  Seattle hopes to avoid this situation.  Mayor Ed Murray wants a one-stop shop where workers and businesses can get information about the new minimum wage law.

"I believe we can balance this need for employers and businesses not to feel like this is a negative, adversarial relationship, and at the same time, ensure employees that when there are bad actors, we will act,"  Murray said during a news conference at Seattle city hall.

Murray says creating the Office of Labor Standards ensures there is a centralized and confidential reporting system. Seattle's increased minimum wage kicks in next April.  It gradually rises to $15 an hour based on a complex formula that takes into account the size of the business, benefits and tips.  Murray's plan for the labor office goes to the Seattle City Council on September 22. The mayor will request $511,000 in the 2015 city budget, to run the new office.