As of January 2021, the minimum wage in the District of Columbia is $15.00 an hour.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows employers to pay a lower hourly minimum wage, as long as that wage plus the tips the employee earns adds up to at least the full minimum wage for each hour worked. If not, the employer has to make up the difference. In the District of Columbia, employers can pay tipped employees an hourly wage of $5.00, as long as the employee’s tips bring the total hourly wage up to the D.C. minimum wage.
(For more information, see Nolo’s article Tips, Tip Pooling, and Tip Credits.)
In the District of Columbia, eligible employees must receive overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. Not every type of job is eligible for overtime, however. To learn more, see Nolo’s article Overtime Pay: Your Rights as an Employee and contact the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services.
The District of Columbia does not require employers to provide lunch or rest breaks. However, you are entitled to be paid if you have to do any work during a break (for example, if you have to cover the phones while you eat lunch). And, generally, you are entitled to be paid for any short breaks (five to 20 minutes) your employer provides; this time is considered part of your workday.
To learn more about wage and hour laws in the District of Columbia, contact the District's Department of Employment Services.
Wage and hour laws set the basic standards for pay and time worked, covering issues like minimum wage, tips, overtime, meal and rest breaks, what counts as time worked, when you must be paid, things your employer must pay for, and so on.
The federal wage and hour law is called the Fair Labor Standards Act. Most states also have their own wage and hour laws, and some local governments (like cities and counties) do, too. An employer who is subject to more than one law must follow the law that is most generous to the employee. For example, the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, but employers in states that have set a higher minimum wage must pay the higher amount.
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