Other DC Wage and Hour Laws
In addition to federal laws such as the FLSA, the Washington, D.C. government provides several protections for workers in D.C. regarding their rights to collect their wages. These safeguards can be found in the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law, which requires employers to pay wages within certain time limits, the Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act, and the Wage Transparency Act.D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law
The D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law covers all employers employing any person within the District of Columbia. It defines an employer broadly and includes individuals as employers. This means that in some cases, individual officers or company owners may be liable for violations as employers even though the corporation that the person represents is also at fault.
The law defines employee to include “any person suffered or permitted to work by an employer except any person employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity.”Exemptions
The following kinds of workers are exempted from the Wage Payment and Collection law:
- U.S. government or agency workers;
- D.C. government or agency workers;
- Workers subject to the Railway Labor Act; and
- Employers must pay covered workers at least twice a month, on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer. Employers must pay exempt employees at least monthly.
- Wages may be paid by cash or by check.
- Wages must be paid within 10 working days of the close of the pay period, except when a different period is specified in a collective bargaining agreement between an employer and labor organization.
- An employer must generally pay an employee who resigns or is terminated the wages owed to them by the next working day, absent certain exceptions.
- Covered workers are entitled to accumulated vacation pay when they leave employment unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
The D.C. Wage Theft Prevention Act Amendment broadened the definition of wages to include: all monetary compensation owed after lawful deductions, whether the amount owed is determined on a time, task, piece, commission, or other basis of calculation. The law’s definition of wage explicitly includes bonus pay, commission, fringe benefits paid in cash, overtime premiums, and other compensation promised or owed under contract or D.C./federal law.
Among other changes to the Wage Payment Collection Act and the Minimum Wage Requirement Act, the Wage Theft Prevention Act also provides protection for employees from retaliation for making a complaint regarding a violation of the District’s wage payment provisions. The Act establishes a presumption of retaliation for any adverse action taken by an employer within 90 days of such a complaint, which an employer may only rebut with “clear and convincing” evidence that the adverse action was taken for permissible reasons.Wage Transparency Act
Effective March 11, 2015, DC enacted the Wage Transparency Act. Under this Act, private employers are prohibited from enacting workplace policies that forbid employees from discussing their wages with one another. Employers are prohibited from taking adverse employment action or retaliating against any employee for discussing their wages or otherwise exercising their rights under this Act.Remedies
An employee who has been denied wages in violation of D.C.’s wage payment law may be entitled to the amount of unpaid wages as well as liquidated damages in the amount of either ten percent (10%) of the unpaid wages per working day after the day on which wages became due, or an amount equal to three times the amount of unpaid wages, whichever is smaller. A three-year statute of limitations applies to claims arising under the Wage Payment Collection Act.
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