WAMU 88.5 : News

With Little Fanfare, D.C. Council Gives Final Approval To Minimum Wage Hike

Under the bill, D.C.'s minimum wage will increase to $11.50 by 2016.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59937401@N07/5858011914/
Under the bill, D.C.'s minimum wage will increase to $11.50 by 2016.
City/State Minimum Wage Linked to CPI?
District of Columbia $11.50
(effective 2016)
Yes
San Francisco
$10.55 Yes
Sante Fe, NM $10.51 Yes
California $10.00
(effective 2016)
Yes
Washington $9.19 Yes
New York $9.00
(effective 2016)
No
Connecticut $9.00
(effective 2015)
No
Nevada $8.25 Yes
Ohio $7.85 Yes
Arizona $7.80 Yes

With no debate or dissent, today the D.C. Council voted for a second and final time on a bill that will increase the minimum wage to $11.50 by 2016, the highest rate in the country.

The bill now goes to Mayor Vincent Gray for his signature. Despite initially saying he would prefer a $10 minimum wage, his office confirmed today that he would sign the bill.

The bill's passage marks a swift reversal of fortune for labor activists and low-wage workers in the city. In September, Gray vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum wage for employees of certain large retailers to $12.50.

Only a month later, though, various bills were introduced calling for an increase of the current minimum wage of $8.25; a compromise bill sailed through committee hearings and an first Council vote with little dissent.

Under the bill passed today, the minimum wage will increase to $9.50 by 2014, $10.50 by 2015 and $11.50 by 2016, after which it will be indexed to inflation. With the vote, the Council joins both Prince George's County and Montgomery County, both of which have passed minimum wage increases to $11.50, albeit by 2017.

The bill does not include tipped workers, though, who will continue to make $2.77 an hour. Under D.C. law, though, their employers have to make up the difference if they don't get to $8.25 with tips. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) has introduced a stand-alone bill increasing the minimum wage for tipped workers, but it has not yet been voted on.

The Council also passed a bill allowing restaurant workers to take advantage of a paid sick leave law that has been on the books since 2008. Up until this point, most servers, bussers and bartenders were exempted from the law, which mandates that employers offer paid sick days after a certain period of employment.

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