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

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The minimum wage from D.C. to Montgomery County is on its way up to $11.50.
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The minimum wage from D.C. to Montgomery County is on its way up to $11.50.

The D.C. Council unanimously approved a bill on first reading to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, one of the highest in the nation.

With every single Council member lining up to support the bill, it appears the measure will sail through on the second and final reading, and, equally important, survive a potential veto from Mayor Vincent Gray, who has called for a smaller increase to $10 an hour.

If signed into law, the wage will be increased incrementally, hitting $11.50 in 2016. After that, it will be indexed to inflation.

Last month, D.C.'s neighbors Montgomery County and Prince George's County also approved raising their minimum wages to $11.50. By acting together, area leaders have said they hope to keep the playing field level for attracting and retaining businesses.

Jurisdictions in Virginia, meanwhile, will continue to have a much lower rate at $7.25 an hour.

The Council's bill does not include a raise for tipped workers, such as bartenders and waiters who make a minimum of $2.77 an hour before tips are added. But the Council, in a separate action, approved a bill mandating paid sick days for these workers, who had been exempted from the 2008 paid sick leave legislation.

The second and final votes for both bills could take place later this month.

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