Minimum wage increase for tipped workers as Initiative 77 passes in DC

A ballot measure that will cause tipped workers in the District to receive an increased minimum wage has been passed by city voters.

With the approval of Initiative 77 on Tuesday, businesses such as restaurants and bars will have to pay tipped employees, such as servers and bartenders, a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour. That amount will increase to $15 an hour by 2020.

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This measure was highly-debated in the service industry as opponents of the bill voiced concerns that this could lead to businesses adding a service charge to customers or cutting jobs to make up for the added cost. Also, many tipped workers in D.C. said they can make more than the minimum wage in the current tipping system.

Before the measure was passed, tipped employees received $3.33 per hour in addition to tips earned. However, businesses were required to make up the difference if employee's hourly pay and tips added up to less than the $12.50 minimum wage.

Initiative 77 passed with 55 percent of the vote.