Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Friday, February 22, 2019

Minimum wage rises to $10.50 in D.C.

Pay day just got sweeter (pictures of money/flickr).

D.C. joined an exclusive group of jurisdictions nationwide that have a minimum wage above $10 on Wednesday.

Employees in the District must lawfully be paid at least $10.50 per hour, and tipped workers must also earn pay that is equal to that amount when tips are included. The wage hike is a part of a plan signed into law last year by then-Mayor Vincent Gray to increase wages in steps; it increased to $9.50 last July and it will end at $11.50 next year.

Mayor Muriel Bowser commemorated the new wage increase alongside District officials and the owner of a small grocery store in Northeast Wednesday morning.

“With this increase in minimum wage, there are more people on the pathway to the middle class in Washington, D.C.,” Bowser said. “We’ll make sure that every business follows the rules so all people working in the District have the same opportunities.”

As the minimum wage continues on its path to $11.50, a group of activists are making the pitch for it to rise further, to $15 by 2020. As Martin Austermuhle reports in WAMU 88.5 radio, labor activists want the proposal decided at the ballot box, and the D.C. Board of Elections considered testimony for such a ballot initiative on Wednesday.

The wage hike also comes as the D.C. Council voted to trigger tax cuts — for just about everyone, except those earning over $350,000 — earlier than planned on Tuesday, to go into effect this September rather than February 2016. Councilmembers agreed current revenue projections by the District’s chief financial officer indicate the time is right to bring down previous tax hikes.

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