Washington DC Minimum Wage Act

Washington DC employees have the benefit of one of the highest minimum wage rates in the country. The District of Columbia Minimum Wage Act (DCMWA) sets forth minimum wage guidelines for Washington DC employers to follow. Having a standardized minimum wage is essential to ensure that employees are receiving a fair wage that will be able to provide adequate financial support.

Without laws like the DCMWA, employees would be even more exposed to abuses in the workplace. Washington DC Minimum Wage Act guidelines apply across virtually all industries and set the standard for fair pay. In the event an employee’s rights under the DCMWA are violated, a knowledgeable employment attorney could help.

Current DC Minimum Wage Requirements

Current minimum wage in Washington DC is $13.25 per hour, which is greater than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Washington DC employees are entitled to receive the Washington DC minimum wage because it is higher than the federal minimum wage. Pursuant to the Washington DC Minimum Wage Act, employees who spend more than 50 percent of their working time in Washington DC are considered Washington DC employees.

In addition, the DCMWA requires that employees who work more than 40 hours per week are paid at a rate of 1.5 times their regular pay rate.

Employers must adhere to these requirements. If an employer fails to follow minimum wage and overtime guidelines as set forth in the DCMWA, they may face civil liability for the amount of unpaid wages and additional damages. Willful violations of the DCMWA may carry more serious fines and even imprisonment.

Exceptions to the Minimum Wage Act

Like most statutes, the Washington DC Minimum Wage Act outlines some exceptions to the general rule that employees are entitled to receive minimum wage. Exceptions to the DCMWA minimum wage provisions include:

  • Employees who perform specified executive, administrative or professional job functions
  • Outside salesmen
  • Handicapped workers for whom the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a certificate authorizing reduced payment

Tipped Minimum Wage

Employees who are employed in a position where they receive gratuities are not entitled to receive the same base minimum wage as employees who do not receive gratuities in their line of work. Tipped minimum wage in Washington DC is $3.89 per hour as of July 1, 2018. This amount combined with the employee’s tips must equal minimum wage or else the employer must pay to make up the difference.

Recent Minimum Wage Legislation

Recently enacted legislation referred to as the District of Columbia Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2016 will result in an increase in Washington DC minimum wage over the next few years. On July 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase from $13.25 to $14.00 per hour.

By July 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Washington DC will increase further to $15.00 per hour. In 2021, the minimum wage will increase according to the Consumer Price Index.

Learn More About the Washington DC Minimum Wage Act

Employers should display a summary of Washington DC minimum wage laws for employees to reference. Approved summaries are made available to employers at no cost.

If you are interested in learning more about how the Washington DC Minimum Wage Act applies to you, qualified employment attorneys are here to help. Although paying employees minimum wage may seem straightforward, violations of the DCMWA are still prevalent. Contact a lawyer if you suspect your rights under the DCMWA are being violated, and they could help you recover the wages you are owed.