D.C. minimum wage reaches $15 after years of city legislation

D.C. officials boosted the city’s minimum wage from $14 to $15 per hour Wednesday following a yearslong struggle to raise pay for workers in the District.

The Department of Employment Services announced officials also raised the baseline pay for subminimum wage workers from $4.45 to $5 per hour, as the minimum wage for all other workers will continue to rise “in proportion” with the Consumer Price Index starting next year, WTOP reported. The announcement comes after a seven-year legislative struggle that has raised the minimum wage from $8.25 in 2013 and rallied support for the rights of tipped workers who made just $2.77 per hour in 2016, earning the rest of their pay from tips.

D.C. now sits alongside New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles as one of the only cities to maintain a $15 minimum wage, DCist reported.

The push for $15 per hour dates back to 2013, when the D.C. Council passed a bill that planned to bump the minimum wage up to $11.50 during a three-year period. Three years later, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed off on a 2016 Council vote that laid out the plan to reach a $15 minimum wage and a $5 subminimum wage by 2020.

But the legislation that has regulated the city’s new minimum wage has faced numerous challenges in recent years. Before the District set its plan for an $11.50 minimum wage, former Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed an earlier 2013 Council bill that would have initiated a phased increase to $11.75, and the Council repealed Initiative 77 in 2018 – a measure locals approved to boost the subminimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.