$11.50 Minimum Wage: City Council Raises Rate in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 05:35 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Minimum wage workers in the country’s capital city will see an increase in pay to $11.50 an hour by 2016 after Washington’s city council gave final approval Tuesday to gradually increase pay from the current $8.25.

The new rate will be one of the highest in the country, and it got a unanimous vote from council members. This was the final vote; an initial measure passed two weeks ago.

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Some think the rate, which will be indexed to inflation as part of the new initiative, is too high. Mayor Vincent Gray spoke out against the measure because he was unsure how it would impact the labor market. He wanted the minimum wage to increase to $10 instead of $11.50, Reuters reported.

The District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce has wanted the minimum wage increased for three years, pushing to raise it to $10 and then tie it to inflation, Reuters said. But they spoke against such a high increase in a November blog post.

“The DC Council could vote on the $11.50 per hour minimum wage within the next week or two and to do so would be wrong. I hope our elected officials can reverse their trend of misguided and arbitrary business decisions,” the blog said. “That is far too high of a number and clearly would not have the impact on District residents that proponents have suggested.”

Council member Kenyan McDuffie tweeted:

The council coordinated the minimum wage hike with surrounding counties, Montgomery and Prince George.  They approved the increase in November.

The three areas will affect 2.5 million residents.

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