WASHINGTON - The D.C. Council unanimously approved a plan to rack up the city's hourly minimum wage to $15 on Tuesday, and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser promised to sign the measure into law, which will raise the wage by 2020.
"I see how much it costs to live in Washington, D.C., and that cost is only going up," Bowser said. "Even at $15, it's tough to be able to afford to live in Washington, D.C."
Minimum wage workers in the District currently make $10.50. That rate will increase to $11.50 in July under legislation signed in 2014 by Bowser's predecessor, Vincent Gray.
While many workers who make minimum wage are celebrating the raise, some small businesses are bracing for the financial impact that will come with the law. The owner of three Z-Burger restaurants in D.C. says he has about 80 employees, and the law could keep him from paying really good employees more than that minimum wage.
"If you pay somebody mediocre $15 an hour, that means you have to pay somebody good $20 an hour. In this kind of business, it's going to be very very difficult," said Z-Burger owner Peter Tabiban.
Tipped workers' base rate would increase from $2.77 an hour to $5 an hour, and that will also include all of the tips. Employers in the District would also remain responsible for paying employees the difference between their base pay and minimum wage if tips do not make up the balance.