Washington DC City Council votes to repeal minimum wage legislation Washington DC City Council votes to repeal minimum wage legislation

Washington DC City Council votes to repeal minimum wage legislation
10 Oct 2018

Washington DC’s City Council has voted to begin repealing Initiative 77, a voter-approved law that would have gradually raised the minimum wage for waiting staff and bartenders to US$15 an hour by 2025.

The initiative is opposed by restaurant owners who vowed to fight its implementation, and by Mayor Muriel E Bowser, who the Washington Post reports, pledged to sign repeal legislation.

In Washington DC as in many states, it is legal to pay tipped employees less than the standard minimum wage on the basis that tips make up the difference. The state’s tipped minimum wage is just US$3.33.

At the time of its passage, Initiative 77 was hailed by labour groups as an historic step to lift women and minority restaurant workers out of poverty.

But restaurant owners and some fine-dining staff claim the measure would hurt the industry overall, according to The Takeout. Some workers apparently argued to lawmakers that they already earn more than the minimum wage by way of gratuities and did not want the law changed.

Chairman Phil Mendelson, who led the repeal charge, told the Post: “If the law is a bad law, it should be amended or repealed. It does not matter if the law was adopted by the Council, the voters or Congress.”

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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Washington DC’s City Council has voted to begin repealing Initiative 77, a voter-approved law that would have gradually raised the minimum wage for waiting staff and bartenders to US$15 an hour by 2025.

The initiative is opposed by restaurant owners who vowed to fight its implementation, and by Mayor Muriel E Bowser, who the Washington Post reports, pledged to sign repeal legislation.

In Washington DC as in many states, it is legal to pay tipped employees less than the standard minimum wage on the basis that tips make up the difference. The state’s tipped minimum wage is just US$3.33.

At the time of its passage, Initiative 77 was hailed by labour groups as an historic step to lift women and minority restaurant workers out of poverty.

But restaurant owners and some fine-dining staff claim the measure would hurt the industry overall, according to The Takeout. Some workers apparently argued to lawmakers that they already earn more than the minimum wage by way of gratuities and did not want the law changed.

Chairman Phil Mendelson, who led the repeal charge, told the Post: “If the law is a bad law, it should be amended or repealed. It does not matter if the law was adopted by the Council, the voters or Congress.”

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Disney workers win US$15 minimum wage

Minimum wage hikes would boost US and UK economies, says research

A guide to minimum wage rates across the ASEAN

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