WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Voters approved Initiative 82 on the ballot, which will require employers to increase their mandatory base wage until 2027 when it matches the District’s $16.10 minimum wage.
“In any other career, pretty much, you get paid for showing up for work and doing your job and this the one job where if the weather is bad, if the restaurant gets a bad review, you might not get paid,” said Adam Eidinger, Treasurer of the DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry, which pushed the initiative.
Right now, the minimum wage for tipped workers sits at $5.35 an hour, plus tips.
If an employee doesn’t make $16.10 an hour with tips, then the employer has to make up the difference.
Some tipped workers are not in favor of the change.
“It would harm the workers that it’s supposed to be helping. It’s a very nuanced issue that can’t just be remedied by a blanket legislation that wouldn’t necessarily apply or be helpful to all establishments,” said bartender Valerie Torres.
Julie Sproesser, Interim Executive Director, Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, issued the following statement following the passing of the outcome of the vote:
Initiative 82 was not supported by tipped employees or restaurant owners and operators. We are disappointed with its passage and the new reality that awaits our vibrant industry during a time of already challenging economic recovery. This measure will disrupt our city’s hundreds of small and independently owned restaurants and limit the earning potential of tipped employees, while also having regional repercussions. We will continue to advocate on behalf of restaurant operators, owners, and tipped workers as we explore ways to ease the effect this measure will have.
Voters approved a similar measure in 2018 but it was repealed months later by D.C. City Council.