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Washington DC Tightens Regulation of Wage and Hour Compliance for Employers

Published by on June 18, 2015

In 2014, the Government of the District of Columbia (Washington DC) enacted the Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act (WTPAA), which formally went into effect on February 26, 2015. The act made broad changes to Washington DC wage and hour laws, impacting existing legislation including laws covering the minimum wage, living wage, wage payment, wage collection […]

In 2014, the Government of the District of Columbia (Washington DC) enacted the Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act (WTPAA), which formally went into effect on February 26, 2015. The act made broad changes to Washington DC wage and hour laws, impacting existing legislation including laws covering the minimum wage, living wage, wage payment, wage collection and accrued sick and safe leave among others.


The WTPAA increases penalties for employers who commit wage-hour violations, while also enacting more stringent processes and protections for employees who report, testify and seek redress for wage and hour disputes in the city of Washington DC.

Key provisions of the act include:

– As of the act’s effective date, employers are required to provide a formal written notice to all new employees containing a specified list of details pertaining to their employment including the employer’s name (and DBA, if applicable), physical employment address (and mailing address, if applicable), employer’s telephone number, the regular payday as designated by the employer, and a six-component presentation of the employee’s rate of pay and the basis of that pay rate.

– Within 90 days of the act’s effective date, employers are also required to deliver the same notice to all existing employees.

– Employers are also required to make and keep written copies of the notices, where each individual notice is signed and dated by the employer, and by the employee receiving the notice. The document must also expressly indicate that the employee acknowledges receiving the notice.

– Employers are further required to pay wages to employees on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer, and do so at a minimum frequency of twice during each calendar month.

In addition, the act establishes additional requirements for temporary staffing firms, including a provision that expressly holds such firms jointly and severally liable for violating the act (and for violating other acts named in the new regulation as well).

Additional components of the act include new and expanded procedures pertaining to the process by which employees can lodge complaints about violations of the act, protections against retaliation against employees who do so, specifications for two procedural options associated with complaints (wage-hour investigations are one option and administrative law judge hearings are the other), and detailing extensive and detailed penalties for violations of the act, as well as other acts noted in the text.

This overview covers highlights only and is not comprehensive. Employers with operations in the District of Columbia should read the act in full and respond accordingly to maintain proper compliance with the law. The text of the act is available here:

Government of the District of Columbia
Department of Employment Services
Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014

Laconic Lookout:

State, county and city governments are responding to legitimate incidents of employee wage theft and other abuses with ‘broad-brush’ solutions that place considerable administrative burdens upon the backs of the great majority of businesses and other employers who are already ‘following the rules’ in order to address ongoing problems with employer fraud.

However, the plethora of varying laws and ordinances creates a complicated landscape, one that makes it difficult to standardize practices across jurisdictional lines. Employers are best served by working with their employment law firm to develop and regularly update processes, procedures and related documents to proactively address local laws before they go into effect.

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