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D.C. Council Approves Mayor’s Minimum Wage Increase to $15/Hour

June 8, 2016

The D.C. Council on June 7 approved a minimum wage increase (pdf) to $15 an hour by July 1, 2020. In subsequent years, the minimum wage will be indexed to inflation.

With the vote, D.C. joins California, New York, and numerous municipalities that have passed similar legislation. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) recommended the legislation to the council on April 19.

The median wage for the 9,810 home care workers — including personal care aides and home health aides — in the District of Columbia is $12.36. The new minimum wage will benefit nearly all of these workers. 

With a median wage of $15.38, approximately half of the District’s 3,320 nursing assistants will realize benefits from the increase. (For more information on direct-care workers in the District of Columbia, visit the PHI State Data Center.)

“When I see how much it costs to live in Washington, D.C. — and that cost is only going up — we know that it takes more money for every household to be able to afford to live,” Bowser said, according to the Associated Press.

Prior to the bill’s passage, workforce advocates were collecting petition signatures for a ballot initiative that would have allowed District residents to vote on a $15 minimum wage. Advocates have abandoned that effort.

The bill still must undergo a 30-day review by the U.S. Congress. If Congress passes a joint resolution in opposition to the law and the president signs the joint resolution, the law will not take effect.

“I think that will actually do more harm than good in so many instances,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R), in reference to the legislation during a press conference on his proposed overhaul of the nation’s poverty programs.

— by Stephen Campbell, PHI Policy Research Associate

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