Washington’s Minimum Wage Increase Causes Spike in Childcare Costs

Posted: Nov 16, 2016 12:00 PM

On November 8, Washington state voters approved Initiative 1433 which will increase the state’s minimum wage from $9.47 to $13.50 an hour by 2020. Parents who helped pass the bill may be regretting their decision as their childcare costs follow suit. 

According to KXLY in Spokane, Washington, one mother reported that she will be paying $300 more a month for childcare due to the minimum wage increase—and she isn't the only one.

Advent Lutheran Child Center in Spokane Valley explained to parents this week that they will be responsible for covering the workers’ pay increase. Needless to say, parents weren’t happy with the news. 

Heidi Perry, director of Advent Child Care told KXLY, "I think there was a little bit of sticker shock. I had a lot of parents who walked into the office last night or this morning and say 'am I reading this right?' And I said yes you are.”

Starting in January, Advent Child Center is increasing tuition from $705 to $845 a month. That’s $140 more a month—per child. 

Parents who have more than one child attending daycare may not be able to afford, or are simply unwilling, to pay such a large difference. 

“It just adds to the tightness of general month to month expenditures," said Dawn Ellis, who has two children enrolled at Advent Lutheran. "I understand that they need to capture their difference and make that money back, but then so does everybody else.”

Ellis continued, “I mean when you have your two children and the total is more than a mortgage payment, and then on top of it if you do have a mortgage payment and everything else, it adds up.”

Parents looking to send their children someplace else may be out of luck.

"Even if you find somewhere right now that's slightly lower, once January hits it sounds like a lot of places will be issuing increases,” said Ellis—and she’s right. 

While one childcare center in the area said it has yet to discuss the issue, another said a tuition increase is inevitable.