Minimum Wage

What is the current minimum wage in Washington D.C. and how will it go up in the future?

The minimum wage used to be $8.25 for many years. The minimum wage in D.C. is now $11.50 an hour, as of July 1, 2016. On July 1, 2017 it will go up to $12.50 an hour. By July 1, 2020, the minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour.

How might the law be different if I receive tips at my job?

Workers who earn tips may be paid a base wage of $2.77 an hour in D.C. However, tipped workers still must receive an average of $11.50 per hour (or the current minimum wage) including the tips that they earn over the course of the week. If workers’ tips are not enough to bring them up to the minimum wage, the employer is obligated to pay the difference.

Who is not covered by the minimum wage law?

In DC, there are some exceptions to the minimum wage, including newspaper deliverers, casual babysitters and workers with disabilities whose employers have special permission from the Department of Labor. There are some other categories of people who may be paid the federal minimum wage (which is currently $7.25) including students working for their own university and minors.

Do I have the right to the minimum wage if I receive a flat weekly salary at my job?

Yes, even if your employer says that you earn a weekly salary, you still have a right to earn the minimum wage for every hour you work, unless you fall into one of the exceptions to the minimum wage law (see above).

Should my wage be higher if I work more than 40 hours a week?

Usually it should. Many workers in D.C. have the right to overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. The overtime rate is 1.5 times your regular pay rate (so if you are normally paid $12 an hour, you would be paid $18 an hour for every hour you work beyond 40 hours in a given workweek.) Some exceptions include certain executive, administrative, or professional workers, parking lot attendants, and independent contractors. If you don’t supervise anyone, work in H.R., or have a professional degree and your employer still isn’t providing overtime, it is worth getting legal advice on whether you are eligible.

Do undocumented workers have a right to the minimum wage and overtime?

Yes, you have the right to earn the minimum wage and overtime and make a claim if your employer is not following the law, regardless of immigration status.

What if I am paid in cash?

Workers who work “under the table” and are paid in cash have the right to receive the minimum wage and make a claim if their employer is not following the law. It is helpful, though not required, if you take detailed notes about the hours you work.

If I work for an employer that receives government contracts, is the minimum wage different for me?

If you work for a D.C. contractor or subcontractor, you likely have the right to be paid at a higher “living wage” rate. As of January 1, 2015, the living wage rate for D.C. contractors is $13.80 an hour, and it will go up to reflect increases in the cost of living every year. Employees who work for most D.C. government contractors, subcontractors, or other businesses that receive substantial government assistance must receive D.C.’s living wage rate, but there are exceptions.

If you work on federal contracts or subcontracts, there are several laws that may require you to be paid prevailing wages and benefits that are higher than the minimum wage. Workers who work on federal contracts for construction or federal service contracts may be entitled to a earn specific higher wages and benefits that depend on what their job is. If you work on a federal contract job, consider getting legal advice to ensure you are earning what the law requires.

Do I have the right to be paid more if I work on a holiday or the night shift?

The law does not require most workers who work the night shift or on holidays to receive higher pay rates. However, if your employer promises higher rates or if your employment manual or union contract requires them, then you have a right to those higher rates.

 

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