WASHINGTON — Remember Initiative 82? It aims to gradually increase the tipped minimum wage in D.C., and District voters passed it with overwhelming support last November. That means people like waiters and nail techs who make a base salary of around $5 an hour will be paid the full minimum wage – without relying on tips.
But, as of now, it still hasn’t become a law - meaning the increases haven’t taken effect.
After being passed by D.C. voters in November, has Initiative 82 become a law?
- DC Department of Employee Services, Office of wage-hour compliance.
- DC code
- Interview with Adam Eidinger, organizer with the pro-Initiative 82 D.C. Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry.
No, Initiative 82 is not a law yet.
WHAT WE FOUND
D.C. initiatives require congressional approval before they become law. In order for I-82 to start bumping wages, it has to pass a 30-day review in Congress, and those 30 days start when the initiative is given to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate.
The House officially elected Republican Kevin McCarthy as the speaker on Jan. 7 with a historic post-midnight 15th ballot. Meaning, I-82 has been stuck in limbo all this time.
But, even when we eventually have a working Congress, it might be a while before the bill gets looked at.
So, don’t stop tipping your waiters, they’re still only making $5.35 per hour, practically nothing compared to the standard minimum wage of $16.50.
In fact, even if the initiative does pass Congress, which isn't guaranteed, the wage increase will take place over multiple years and in gradual increments. Once passed, tipped minimum wage will bump to $6 an hour. It will then increase by $2 on July first of every year.
The final increase in 2027 will bring tipped minimum wage up to equal standard minimum wage, whatever that turns out to be.
WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.