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D.C. Council Approves Of Minimum Wage Increase To $11.50

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At some point in the next year, D.C. workers could see an increase in the city's minimum wage, though how big the increase is remains to be seen.
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At some point in the next year, D.C. workers could see an increase in the city's minimum wage, though how big the increase is remains to be seen.

A D.C. Council committee on Monday unanimously approved raising the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, up from the current rate of $8.25.

The bill would raise the minimum wage to one of the highest in the nation. It would be phased in over three years and indexed for inflation.

"We often hear that the District is one city bound by common destiny, but the sad fact that District remains a tale of two cities, one for the upper and upper middle income professionals and one for those who grind it out paycheck to paycheck," said Council member Vincent Orange (D-At Large), who chairs the committee.

So far, there has been consensus among city leaders to raise the minimum wage, but differences remain on what the wage increase should be and who should be included.

Mayor Vincent Gray has said that he'd prefer a minimum wage of $10 with no annual increases based on inflation, while activists are pushing for $12.50 and for tipped workers like restaurant servers to be included in the raise.

But the same Council committee that approved the $11.50 minimum wage shot down an amendment that would have included those tipped workers, who currently make a minimum of $2.77 an hour. The restaurant industry has argued that those workers make well over the minimum wage when tips are added in; under D.C. law, a restaurant owner has to make up the difference if a tipped worker doesn't hit $8.25 an hour with tips included.

At $11.50, the minimum wage proposal similar to what neighboring jurisdictions Prince George's County and Montgomery County are considering. It's still lower than what some labor groups want,

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