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District of Columbia Increases Minimum Wage Requirements and Universal Paid Leave (UPL) Benefits

In order to keep up with the ever-increasing costs of living, Washington D.C. has implemented an increase to the minimum wage rate for nonexempt employees. Effective July 1, 2022, the minimum wage for the district will increase from $15.20 to $16.10 per hour. The wage increase is applicable to all businesses located within the district, regardless of size.

Tipped Employees

In addition to the general minimum wage increase, tipped employees will also be seeing an increase in their compensation. Effective July 1, 2022, tipped employees will receive an increase from $5.05 to $5.35 per hour. Employees who receive hourly wages and tips are still required to receive minimum wage for all hours worked. According to the legislation, if an tipped employee’s compensation doesn’t meet the minimum wage of the district, the employer is required to make up the difference.

Notice Requirements

The D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) has posted an updated version of the minimum wage employment poster to reflect the upcoming changes for employers. Similar to other employment law posters, this updated posting will need to be put up in a conspicuous location, easily accessible by all employees.

Universal Paid Leave

An amendment to the D.C. Universal Paid Leave (UPL) is set to take place. Previously the law allowed for eight weeks of parental leave, six weeks of family/ medical leave, and two weeks of pre-natal care. Under the new amendment, the amount of leave will drastically increase to 12 weeks of parental leave and 12 weeks of family/medical leave, while keeping the two weeks of pre-natal leave. The new amounts of leave are set to take effect as of July 1, 2022, unless D.C.’s DOES will require more time to implement the updates.

Furthermore, as a result of adequate funding within the district’s program, a reduction to the tax contribution for employers is set to occur as part of this amendment. Specifically, the employer payroll contribution will decrease from 0.62% to 0.26%. That being said, the employer contribution rate may be adjusted once more when the rate is re-evaluated by the district in March 2023.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers within the District of Columbia will want to review their current payroll practices and work to ensure that the increases to the minimum wage are implemented accordingly to those affected by it. It is also recommended that employers put up a copy of the updated minimum wage poster and post it in a conspicuous location along with the company’s other employment law posters. Finally, employers will want to review and update their current D.C. Universal Paid Leave policies to reflect the amended time off entitlements.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.