On January 15, 2014, the Mayor of the District of Columbia signed a bill increasing the DC minimum wage to $11.50, in 3 steps by July 1, 2016. This caps off a recent coordinated effort in DC and suburban Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to increase the regional minimum wage to $11.50. However, each jurisdiction phases in the increase in different amounts and at different times, starting July 1, 2014. Employers in the D.C. area will now face several different local minimum wage requirements in addition to those imposed by federal law. They will have to be careful to ensure that each of their employees is paid the proper wage for the area in which they work.
Under the D.C. law, the general minimum wage for employees working in D.C., currently $8.25, will increase to $9.50 on July 1, 2014; to $10.50 on July 1, 2015; and to $11.50 on July 1, 2016. Thereafter, it will be adjusted on each July 1 in proportion to any increase in the CPI-U for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area published by the BLS, rounded to the nearest nickel. The D.C. law also added new quarterly reporting requirements for employers who take the tipped credit and provides for random reporting audits, but makes no change in the current $2.77 minimum wage for tipped employees.
The Prince George’s County law increases the minimum wage for employees working for any employer in the county, currently under federal and state law set at $7.25, to $8.40 on October 1, 2014; to $9.55 on July 1, 2015; to $10.25 on October 1, 2016; and to $11.50 on October 1, 2017. However, the law exempts individuals under the age of 19 who are employed not more than twenty hours in a week. The law also provides for the minimum for tipped employees to be calculated in the same manner as under state law, which allows tips to be included as up to half of the minimum wage.
The Montgomery County law increases the minimum wage for employees working in the county for the county or for non-governmental employers with two or more employees in the County, also currently under federal and state law set at $7.25, to $8.40 on October 1, 2014; to $9.55 on October 1, 2015; to $10.75 on October 1, 2016; and to $11.50 on October 1, 2017. As in Prince George’s County, the law exempts individuals under the age of 19 who are employed not more than twenty hours in a week. However, it allows a tip credit of half the regular minimum wage under state law, currently $3.63 (half of the higher of the state or federal minimum wage).
In addition, there are bills currently pending in the Maryland legislature that would increase the state-wide minimum wage, and efforts are underway or have already passed to increase the minimum in other states.