The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Employment

D.C. Code Ann. Title 32, Chapter 10

The Law: As of July 1, 2017, DC minimum wage is $12.50 per hour and will increase to $13.25 on July 1, 2018, and to $15.00 per hour by 2020. 

Minimum Wage Amendment Act of  2013 ****

Adopted by the 2013 DC Council and signed by Mayor on Feb. 12, 2014. The minimum wage was  $11.50 as of July 1st,  2016, with later revisions tied to the CPI for the DC Metro Area. See exact language in the Act, as well as the Public Notice

Note if the federal government increases the minimum wage, then the DC minimum wage shall be that wage plus $1, whichever is greater.

There is an exception in the law for students employed by colleges and universities. DC Minimum Wage regulations at section 902.4(f), provide that the "minimum wage provisions do not apply in instances where other laws or regs establish minimum rates for the following: ...(f) students: students employed by institutions of higher education may be paid the minimum wage established by the United States Government."

The MWARA provides employee protections and stipulates the minimum wage rate. The Wage-Hour Office of the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services administers the Act.

Overtime provisions under the Act require covered employers to compensate employees at one and one-half (1½) times their regular rate if an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek.  Calculations are made on the basis of a single workweek and may not be averaged over two (2) or more workweeks. (Note: Though the regulations specify that all time is counted, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals has held that only hours worked in the District may be considered. See District of Columbia v. Schwerman Trucking Co., 327 A.2d 818 (D.C. 1974). However, the Wage-Hour Office has acted contrary to the holding of the D.C. Circuit in Williams v. W.M.A. Transit Co., 472 F.2d 1258 (D.C. Cir. 1972) and the Office's position has not been challenged. The regulations also expressly incorporate (with stated exceptions) the overtime regulations under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. See D.C. R. & Regs. tit. 11A, § 31.4.

The regulations require the employer to pay for an additional hour at the applicable minimum wage for each day that the employee works a split shift or an excessive spread of hours where the total time exceeds ten hours. However, this does not apply if the employee lives on the employer's premises. See D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 7, § 908.

Recordkeeping: The Act requires covered employers to keep records of each employee's name, address, occupation, date or birth, rate of pay, amount paid each pay period, and the hours worked each day and each workweek. The records must be open and made available to proper authorities for inspection and employers must furnish a sworn statement of records and information if requested. These records must be maintained for a period of three (3) years. See D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 7, § 914. (Note: For certain types of employees, such as those who work on commission, there may be additional recordkeeping requirements.)

Posting: The DC Wage and Hour web page contains a link to a poster that must be posted in a conspicuous place for employees to view. Failure to post a summary of the act or the poster may result in a tolling of the three- (3) year statute of limitations. Employees are held to have knowledge of the Act requirements so long as the employer complies with the posting. If there is no compliance, the employee's cause of action will not accrue until the employee knows or reasonably should know that the employer is violating the Act. See William J. Davis, Inc. v. Young, 412 A.2d 1187 (D.C. 1980).

Wage Statement: Employers must provide each employee an itemized statement at the time they pay the wages which shows: the date of payment, gross wages, itemization of allowances and deductions, net wages, hours worked, and any other info prescribed. See D.C. Code Ann. § 32-1008; D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 7, § 906.

Also note: The Act prohibits retaliation, making it unlawful for an employer to "discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee" because an employee has complained or exercised his/her rights under the Act. Criminal penalties may result against persons who willfully violate the Act. Individual employees may take civil action once they have given the employer written consent. See D.C. Code Ann. § 36-215(a). The employee is not required to exhaust administrative remedies before taking private action. But see Papadopaulos v. Sheraton Park Hotel, 401 F. Supp. 217 (D.D.C. 1976).

DC Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2014, as amended by the Emergency Wage Theft Prevention Correction and Clarification Act of 2014 and the Wage Theft Prevention Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2015.

This law became effective Feb. 26, 2015, with the jointly signed (employer and employee) pay notice provision effective May 27, 2015. The notices must be furnished to all new employees at the time of hire, and it must be provided to all existing employees by May 27, 2015 and contain the following information:

 

• The name of the employer and any "doing business as" names used;
• The physical address of the employer's main office or principal place of business;
• The telephone number of the employer;
• The employee's rate of pay and the basis of the rate (for example, whether the pay is by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission), any allowances claimed as part of the minimum wage (including tip, meal, or lodging allowances), the overtime rate of pay, exemptions from overtime pay, living wage, exemptions from the living wage, and the applicable prevailing wages;
• The regular pay day designated by employer in accord with the law and any other information the Mayor deems material and necessary.

 

The employee signature can be captured electronically, but records must be kept for all employees showing the notice was received and it must be dated. The pay notice must be updated whenever any of the above information changes, e.g. when an employee receives a raise.

DOES has provided a template form that may be used, but is not required. In other words, an employer may adjust and use their own notice. The changes are employee friendly, and there are stringent financial and criminal penalties for non-compliance. To the extent that translated versions of the template are provided by DOES, the employee's primary language should be used. Willful violators of the new law or the laws it amends will be barred from obtaining D.C. business licenses for a three-year period. See the summary posted by Constangy Brooks, Smith and Prophete, LLP on March 11, 2015.

Wage Theft Prevention Record Keeping
For non-exempt employees, the employer must record exact time worked, so start time and quitting time and any break time. Compliance with the FLSA round regulation is sufficient. See the Venable LLP May 1, 2015 write up of update from the DC Department of Employee Services. See 29 CFR 785.48 (b): “Rounding” practices. It has been found that in some industries, particularly where time clocks are used, there has been the practice for many years of recording the employees' starting time and stopping time to the nearest 5 minutes, or to the nearest one-tenth or quarter of an hour. Presumably, this arrangement averages out so that the employees are fully compensated for all the time they actually work. For enforcement purposes this practice of computing working time will be accepted, provided that it is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a period of time, in failure to compensate the employees properly for all the time they have actually worked.

 

Minimum Wage Relationship to the Fair Labor Standards Act: The basic coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is found at 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219, which requires covered employers to pay employees the minimum wage plus time and a half for over 40 hours worked in one (1) workweek. It covers employees "engaged in commerce or . . . in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce." See 29 U.S.C. § 206(a). The FLSA is not preemptive; both the FLSA and the MWARA cover all but the smallest employers in the District of Columbia. Thus, the higher minimum wage provisions and the less restrictive exemptions of the MWARA apply to employers even though they must comply with both.

 

 

Resources

 

DC Wage Law (a law firm page)-has chart for wages till 2020 

Minimum Wage Amendment Act of  2013 ****

See Exexcutive Order on Pay Transparency for action at Federal Level

Minimum Wage and Wage Theft Poster*

 

 

 

updated 7/21/17