WASHINGTON — Initiative 82 has been passed in D.C., effectively ending the tipped wage system that exists in some restaurants and bars.
Initiative 82 eliminates the sub-minimum tipped wage of $5.35 per hour and ensures all tipped workers get D.C.'s full minimum wage of at least $16.10 plus tips.
The initiative will be rolled out slowly, with tipped employees starting to earn $6 per hour by January 2023, $8 by next July and then two dollar raises each year until 2027.
This change to the pay structure for servers and other workers at Washington bars and restaurants comes after four years prior an identical ballot issue was approved then later overturned by the D.C. Council.
Under current law, employers of employees classified as "tipped workers" may take credit against tipped wages received by workers to satisfy the minimum wage guaranteed to all workers by law. Initiative 82 will gradually end the credit, such that the mandatory base wage paid by employers shall increase until 2027 when the mandatory base wage matches the minimum wage established by District of Columbia law (currently $15.20 per hour, indexed to inflation).
A similar referendum was passed in 2018 by D.C. voters, but ultimately repealed by the DC Council.