By law, the District of Columbia minimum wage must be at least $1.00 more than the federal minimum wage. On July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage will increase from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour.
When the federal minimum increases, the minimum in several states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, North Dakota and Virginia will increase, too. These states tie their minimum wage laws to the federal minimum wage. The District of Columbia will see an increase in its minimum wage, too. While Texas, Utah, etc. match the federal minimum.
That means that in July 2009, the D.C. minimum wage will jump to $8.25 per hour.
Business owners in Washington, D. C. are not happy with this increase. They feel it puts them at a disadvantage with competitors in neighboring Virginia and Maryland. Both of these states adjust their minimum wage to the level of the federal minimum, so will pay $7.25 per hour as compared to $8.25 per hour in D. C.
Despite these objections, Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed (more…)
Although the District of Columbia is technically not a state, like many states, including Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia, the District of Columbia’s minimum wage is tied to the federal minimum wage. Unlike those states, however, the minimum wage law in D. C doesn’t merely equal the federal minimum wage, but exceeds it by $1 per hour.
That’s because D.C. law requires that the minimum wage be $1 per hour more than the federal minimum wage. When the federal minimum wage increases from $5.85 to $6.55 in July, it will spark an increase in the D.C. minimum wage.
Up to a dozen states will increase the minimum wage to the same level as the federal minimum wage, including Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and North Dakota. The increase in the District of Columbia is the highest, however.
This increase is somewhat controversial (more…)
An aerospace defense contractor based in Broomfield, Colorado was ordered to pay almost $1 million in back wages to 904 employees in four states plus the District of Columbia.
The U.S. Department of Labor charges that Ball Aerospace and Technologies, Inc. failed to pay $976,327 in overtime to employees in Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Georgia and Washington D.C.
According to sources, an investigation showed that once senior technicians reached the maximum hourly rate, they were arbitrarily and unlawfully changed to salaried-exempt status. The change in pay rate did not include a significant increase in responsibilities. Under federal law, in order to be exempt from overtime pay, employees must have decision-making powers, significant administrative duties or they must supervise three or more people. None of those conditions were met for the 111 technicians in question, so they are due $383, 235 in unpaid overtime.
In addition, all employees were routinely required to work through their lunch periods without any pay. Even if they were not able to take a lunch break, an hour was deducted from their time cards every work day. This violation resulted in payments of $593,092 to 793 employees.
Ball agreed to keep more accurate payroll records in the future, in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, and to pay all required wages to employees in the future.
In late July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced Desert Plastering, Inc., a Las Vegas Nevada firm, to pay nearly $1.2 million in back pay to 1060 employees. The feds found that Desert Plastering had not paid required overtime to lathers, finishers, plasterers and estimators who worked up to 58 hours per week.
In early July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced 107 subcontractors of KBR, Inc. of Virginia to pay some $1.5 million in back wages and benefits for up to 2,600 workers who participated in the Hurricane Katrina recovery project. The construction workers were involved in repairs to the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport Mississippi or the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The U.S. Department of Labor is still searching for some of the workers involved in that case. Anyone who believes that they are owed back wages for these projects can contact the nearest U.S. Department of Labor office. The average payment per worker in that case was $616.
Earlier this year, under a voluntary agreement to prevent a federal suit, Wal-Mart, Inc. agreed to pay $33 million in unpaid overtime wages to 86,680 employees throughout the nation. An internal audit revealed that the company had incorrectly classified some employees as “salary-exempt” when in fact they were entitled to overtime pay. In other cases, the company admitted that it had based overtime pay on the employee’s base hourly rate, not including incentives and bonuses in the employee’s average rate as required by law.
The Fair Labor Standard Act requires that most U.S. employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently $5.85 per hour. The FLSA also mandates that employees must be paid 1.5 times their usual hourly rate for each hour over 40 in a single work week.
Many employers mistakenly believe that any worker paid by salary is exempt from overtime. The FLSA does provide a number of exemptions to the overtime law for bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales jobs. In general, employees must meet job duty and salary tests, to be exempt from overtime.
The U. S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division collected more than $171 in back wages for some 246,000 employees in 2006. Thos wages were a result of 31,987 “compliance actions” in 2006.
Before I get into how the District of Columbia minimum wage law will be affected by the new federal minimum wage law—if at all—I want to touch upon one aspect of the District of Columbia minimum wage law that we have spent some time recently discussing, and that is the tip credit.
Yes, the District of Columbia minimum wage law does have a tip credit. It allows employers to pay $2.77 per hour to their tipped employees if their tips make up the difference between that hourly rate and the District of Columbia minimum wage rate. That is a tip credit of $4.23 per hour, or more than half of the full $7 minimum wage in the District of Columbia. That would be an interesting table, by the way, if we looked at whether or not each state had a tip credit and what that tip credit is. It would be interesting to see which states give these employers the most tip credit, and which do not.
Perhaps that will be my next project here at the blog—to come up with all of that information for you on my next go around the 50 states, and Washington DC of course (along with Puerto Rico and the other U.S. territories).
Anyways, back to the District of Columbia and the federal minimum wage. The increase in the federal minimum wage, if and when it happens, will affect some employers in the area because some are allowed to pay their employees the federal minimum wage instead of the District of Columbia minimum wage under the law. These employers include so called “adult learners,” or trainees who have been at a job for 90 days or fewer.
Students who work at their universities and colleges can also get paid the federal minimum wage, as well as minors working in the District of Columbia for any employer.