City Desk

D.C. Council Supports Minimum Wage Hike, Paid Sick Leave for Tipped Workers

It was a good day on the dais for wage workers in the District.

The D.C. Council unanimously passed legislation that would raise the city's minimum wage to $11.50 an hour and another that would expand paid sick leave to include workers who earn tips, like waiters and bartenders.

The minimum wage bill was expected to pass, but the unanimous vote all but guarantees that it could survive any veto attempt by Mayor Vince Gray, who has said he supports boosting the minimum wage from its current rate of $8.25 an hour to $10.

The new minimum wage would hit $11.50 in 2016, incrementally increasing each year, and would then be tied to the Consumer Price Index, ultimately making D.C.'s minimum wage among the highest in the nation. Tipped workers, though, would continue to make a $2.77 minimum base wage.

The second bill passed today would mandate that all workers, including those who earn mostly tips, be offered paid sick days. This is an expansion of legislation approved in 2008, which called for near-universal paid sick time, but excluded tipped workers.

Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, who co-sponsored the legislation, called the fact that tipped workers aren't already offered paid sick leave "atrocious." At-Large Councilmember David Grosso said having employees in the restaurant business choose between going to work sick and making their rent is a health hazard.

The bills still need to pass a final vote by the Council, which is expected on Dec. 17, before it goes to the mayor for his signature.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  1. #1

    Congratulations DC Council you have played right into WalMart's hands. They already pay most of their workers $9-$11.50/hr so they will definitely be able to afford this min raise increase. In fact, WalMart has always voiced support to raising the min wage. Do you know why? Because it destroys their competitors. Many independent and smaller business will not be able to afford this raise increase, and will go out of business. So in all your hate for big box retailers and supposed love for "mom and pop" this bill will effectively increase WalMart's business in the District.

  2. #2

    Completely agree 100% with Derek. As a small biz owner that already operates on crazy small margins this is a BIG deal. This will only increase the cost of goods sold to customers in an already expensive area- driving up prices on most everything else, including rents. This bill will not be a win for District resident wage earners in the long run, the only winners will be those who live in jurisdiction where the min wage is still low and commute into the city.

  3. #3

    Wow. I agree completely with a unanimous DC City Council. I am in shock.

  4. #4

    It's such a shame that then-council member Carol Schwartz had to lose the primary election in 2008 because she spearheaded the first paid sick leave law. Of course, that loss paved the way for Michael Brown to replace her. How'd that work out for ya?

  5. #5

    Derek and Chase are CLEARLY ringers who were paid to put up those posts using a script.

  6. #6

    The moronic residents of DC who approve this latest move to tell private businesses what to pay their employees just demonstrates their lack of intelligence. Way to go DC council for raising EVERYBODY'S costs! Like the low intelligence beings they are, they fail to reason out that the additional costs will be passed on to the customers. Think back-door tax increase.

    Once again, never underestimate the economic stupidity of the "liberal" idiots.

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