It’s official: Washington D.C. is the latest city to join the Fight for $15. Yesterday (June 27), Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation that will incrementally raise the city’s minimum wage each year between now and 2020, when it will hit $15 an hour. D.C. joins California and New York state, as well as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle as locales with the $15 rate on the books.
City council passed the Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2016 on June 21. The city’s minimum wage currently sits at $10.50—well above the federal rate of $7.25—and was already scheduled to jump to $11.50 this week. On July 1, 2017, it will move to $12.50, then $13.25 a year later, then $14.00 the following year. After it reaches $15 in 2020, the rate will be adjusted annually per the inflation index. It will also adjust with the federal rate; should activists succeed in securing a $15 federal wage—which the Democratic National Committee included in its party platform heading into the general election—the District will add $1 an hour to its own rate. Tipped workers’ wage will go from $2.77 to $5 an hour before tips, and employers are supposed to make up the difference if their tips don’t put workers at $15.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says the increase will impact the take home pay of 114,000 people. On average, each worker would earn an additional $2,900 annually by 2020 just based on the wage hike. While the city’s population is 55.9 percent people of color, EPI estimates that workers of color will represent almost 80 percent of the folks who will benefit from the increase. And 34.5 percent of those who will receive a raise are currently either living in poverty or struggling to stay above the line.
*This story has been updated to reflect the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee’s stance on a $15 per hour minimum wage.