The Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Emergency Amendment Act repeals a June ballot initiative that would have gradually increased the hourly minimum wage for Washington, DC, tipped employees to $15 by 2025.

The DC Council (the Council) voted by an 8-5 measure on October 2 to pass the Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Emergency Amendment Act (the Act). The Act repeals Initiative 77 – the Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2018 (Initiative 77), a ballot measure approved by DC voters on June 19, 2018. Initiative 77 was otherwise scheduled to take effect on or around October 11, 2018.[1]

As explained in our June 22, 2018, LawFlash, Initiative 77 sought to gradually increase the separate minimum wage for DC tipped employees to $15 by 2025, and completely eliminate the separate minimum wage for DC tipped employees by 2026. As a first step, Initiative 77 called for the hourly minimum wage rate for tipped employees to increase to $4.50 as of July 1, 2018. The Act repeals those requirements and returns the current tipped minimum wage to $3.89 –the same hourly rate for tipped employees that was provided under DC’s minimum wage law prior to Initiative 77.

Because the Council wanted to repeal Initiative 77 before its scheduled October 11, 2018, effective date, it passed the Act by emergency legislation (thereby avoiding the otherwise mandatory congressional review period), with permanent legislation scheduled to follow. The Act will become effective upon DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s signature.

DC employers should continue to monitor the Council’s fall agenda for any developments related to the Act.