Four Things You Didn’t Know About D.C. Wage Payment Laws

 In Minimum Wage, Overtime, Wage Payment

You might know that the District of Columbia has some of the most worker friendly laws in the country. But even many lawyers don’t know these four surprising facts about the D.C. Wage Payment Law.

#1 – The Minimum Daily Wage (4 Hours)

Let’s say you’re a waiter at a restaurant, you show up to your 10 a.m. shift one morning, and your boss says “it’s really slow this morning…go home…we don’t need you today.” Well, according to the D.C. Minimum Wage Act, your boss probably has to pay you for 4 hours of work at the current minimum wage, or $46.00 (as of the date of this article).

That’s right: $46.00 for showing up.

7 DCMR § 907.1: The employer shall pay the employee for at least four (4) hours for each day on which the employee reports for work under general or specific instructions but is given no work or is given less than four hours of work, except that if the employee is regularly scheduled for less than four hours a day, such employee shall be paid for the hours regularly scheduled. The minimum daily wage shall be calculated as follows: payment at the employee’s regular rate for the hours worked, plus payment at the minimum wage for the hours not worked, as described above.

#2 – An Extra Hour’s Pay for a “Split Shift”

Let’s say you’re a secretary at a law firm, and the lawyer you work for likes to take a “two martini lunch” that lasts 2 hours. So the lawyer says to you: “Your schedule is from 9 a.m. to noon, and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. I don’t need or want you to work between noon and 2 p.m. Go have a martini!”

Well, according to the D.C. Minimum Wage Act, your boss probably has to pay you for an extra hour every day. If you work 5 days a week, your boss could owe you $57.50 in wages for every week that you worked a “split shift” schedule!

7 DCMR § 906.1: In addition to the wages required by this Chapter, the employer shall pay the employee for one additional hour at the minimum wage for each day during which the employee works a split shift. This provision is not applicable to an employee who lives on the premises of the employer

#3 – Get Paid to do Laundry!

We all hate doing laundry. But at least some D.C. workers can get paid for it. According to the D.C. Minimum Wage Act, if your boss makes you wear a uniform, and you are required to wash and maintain your uniform, you are entitled to 10 cents more than the minimum wage for every hour worked. Over the course of a year, this can add up to hundreds of dollars.

7 DCMR § 908.2: When the employer purchases but the employee maintains and cleans plain and washable uniforms, the payment shall be 10 cents ($0.10) per hour in addition to the wages required by this Chapter.

#4 – Almost all private-sector D.C. workers are protected by the D.C. wage payment law – even if they are highly compensated or salaried.

Many white collar employees don’t know that they are protected by the D.C. wage payment laws. They assume that because they are salaried — or because they make a lot of money — there is little that they can do to recover unpaid wages or other compensation (other than file a “breach of contract” lawsuit for the compensation owed).

That simply isn’t true. The D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law does not distinguish between employees in the same way that overtime laws or other laws do. From dishwashers to CEOs, the D.C. Wage Payment and collection law requires the prompt payment of all compensation due to the vast majority of private-sector D.C. workers. And an employer who does not timely pay a D.C. worker may be liable for up to 4X times the unpaid compensation.

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