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District of Columbia Wage and Hour Laws

Working for a living can be a grind. Making sure that people are properly compensated and working within the legal limits is never-ending. District of Columbia's wage and hour laws are constantly adapting to ensure that employees are paid sufficient wages to correlate with the rising costs of living and to protect their overall health. This is a quick summary of the wage and hour laws in the District of Columbia.

District of Columbia Wage and Hour Laws at a Glance

Washington, D.C.'s wage and hour laws protect the health, efficiency, and well-being of the employees toiling to make a living. An employer's failure to abide by these laws constitutes unfair competition against other employers and their employees, threatens the stability of the industry, and reduces the purchasing power of employees. These acts are punishable by both criminal and civil liability.

The following table outlines the specifics of the District of Columbia's wage and hour laws.

Code Sections

District of Columbia Official Code §32-10: Minimum Wages

Minimum Wage

Under D.C. minimum wage laws, an employer must not employ an employee at a rate of less than $10.50 per hour. This minimum rate increases to $11.50 on July 1st of 2016.

Overtime Pay

According to D.C. laws, an employer must not employ any employee for a work week that is longer than 40 hours, unless the employee receives compensation for employment in excess of 40 hours at a rate at least 1-1/2 times the regular rate at which the employee is employed.

Tipped Restaurant Employees

The base minimum wage for tipped restaurant employees is at a rate of $2.77 per hour. If an employee's hourly tip earnings added to the base minimum wage do not equal the district's full minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference or face penalties.


It is unlawful for any employer to violate any of the provisions dictated by District of Columbia wage and hour laws. Upon conviction of this crime, any employer that violates these laws is subject to a fine of up to $10,000, up to 6 months in prison, or both.

Liability for Pre-incorporation Transactions

All persons purporting to act as or on behalf of a corporation, will be held jointly and severally liable for all liabilities created while acting in such capacity.

Civil Liabilities

Any D.C. employer who pays any employee less than the wage to which that employee is entitled will be liable to that employee in the amount of the unpaid wages, and an additional amount as liquidated damages.

Completely understanding your rights under the District of Columbia's wage and hour laws is important to living a healthy life. If your employer is not providing you with proper wages, you can file a claim with the Department of Employment Services. If you would like legal assistance with this employment issue, you can contact a District of Columbia wage and hour lawyer through FindLaw. Visit FindLaw's sections on wage and hour laws for more articles and information on this topic.

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