Protecting Workers’ Rights and Reporting Wage Theft Violations 

**En español**

At the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), we work every day to stand up for District workers who may not always have a voice, including by fighting wage theft, protecting workers’ rights, and holding employers accountable if they violate District law. Under District law—one of the most progressive workers’ rights laws in the nation—employers who fail to pay their workers, or who do not pay their workers on time, can be liable for up to four times the amount of unpaid wages, plus administrative penalties, attorney’s fees, and costs.  

OAG has resources for workers to help protect themselves against unscrupulous employers. The resources, which are available in English and Spanish, include comprehensive information about the District’s wage and hour laws and where workers can get help if their rights are being violated. OAG also provides free wage and hour logbooks, where workers can keep track of their wages and hours and help ensure they actually receive the pay they earn. Workers can print the logbook here

What is the District’s minimum wage? 
As of July 1, 2021, under the District’s wage and hour laws, businesses must pay employees a minimum wage of at least $15.20 per hour, up from the previous minimum wage of $15 per hour. 

Who is required to pay minimum wage?
District law requires employers to pay their employees no less than the minimum hourly wage. In the District all employers, with the exception the federal government, are required to abide by the District’s minimum wage laws. The District government, and any individual, partnership, general contractor, subcontractor, association, corporation, business trust, or any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee are all considered “employers.” 

Who is entitled to the District’s minimum wage?
Most employees employed in the District are entitled to the District’s minimum wage. An employee’s immigration status does not affect their entitlement to minimum wage. 

What is the minimum hourly wage for District employees? 

  • For Regular Employees: Employees who do not receive gratuities (tips) must be paid at least $15.20 per hour. The regular minimum wage is subject to increases every year on July 1.  
  • For Salaried Employees: Salaried employees are entitled to receive a salary that is equal to or greater than the amount they would receive if paid hourly at the minimum wage rate.  
  • For Tipped Employees: Employees who receive gratuities may be paid a lower minimum wage rate of $5.50 per hour, so long as their employer satisfies certain requirements and so long as their wages plus tips add up to at least what the employees would have received if paid for their hours worked at the regular minimum wage rate.  

What is the daily minimum wage in the District?
Unless you regularly work a shift that is less than four hours long, your employer must pay you for at least four hours of work for each day you report to work.

What is the “living wage” in the District?
If your employer is a contractor for the District, you may be entitled to a higher minimum wage rate, called the “living wage.” As of July 1, 2021, the living wage is $15.20.  

What is the overtime pay rate in the District?
Employers are required to pay their employees 1.5 times their regular wage for overtime hours worked. 

Who is entitled to paid sick leave?
Workers are entitled to earn a certain amount of paid sick leave, depending on the size of their employer.  

The Numbers: 
Since 2017, OAG has opened over 50 wage theft investigations, and has recovered more than $3.2 million in restitution for workers.  

Reporting Workers Rights Violations:
Tips and complaints from residents are crucial to enabling OAG to do our work to protect workers. If you believe that your rights as a worker have been violated, file a complaint by: 

  1. Calling the OAG Consumer Complaint Hotline at (202) 442-9828. 
  2. Texting (202) 738-5212 
  3. Emailing OAG at Workers@dc.gov or Trabajadores@dc.gov  
  4. Messaging OAG using the chat feature at: https://oag.dc.gov/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint 
  5. Submitting a complaint online at: https://oag.dc.gov/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint 

 

 

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