DC voters approve minimum wage hike for tipped workers

DC voters approve minimum wage hike for tipped workers
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Voters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday voted to raise wages for tipped workers to minimum wage. 

The controversial ballot measure, Initiative 77, raises the wage for tipped workers to the district's minimum wage, which is currently $12.50 an hour.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, just over 55 percent of voters approved the measure.

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Tipped workers in D.C. are currently paid $3.33 an hour, and law requires that employers make up the difference if the workers do not receive at least the minimum wage in tips.

The ballot measure approved Tuesday requires that tipped workers’ wages are increased gradually until they earn the same as other minimum wage workers by 2026.

The D.C. minimum wage is scheduled to rise to $15 by 2020.

Initiative 77 supporters said that raising the wage would protect tipped workers, who are primarily women and people of color, against mistreatment from customers.

Opponents of the measure, including many restaurant owners and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, voiced concerns that the initiative would lead to job losses, raised prices on menus and restaurants closing.