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D.C. Employment Law: District of Columbia Wage Payment and Wage Collection Law, D.C. Code §§ 32-1301 et seq.

As a courtesy to District of Columbia employers and employment lawyers, The Employment Law Chronicle provides summaries and links (where available) to key District of Columbia labor and employment laws.

The D.C. Wage Payment and Wage Collection Law applies to most non-government employers in the District of Columbia. In general, it requires employers to pay employees wages earned at least twice a month on regular paydays and to make timely payment of wages upon an employee's departure. The wage law does not apply to executives, administrative, or professional employees.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about payment of wages in the District of Columbia:

Does the wage payment law apply to all D.C. employers?

The wage payment law applies to almost all non-government employers in the District of Columbia. It does not apply to the Federal Government, D.C. Government, or employers subject to the Railway Labor Act.

Does the wage payment law cover all employees in the District of Columbia?

No. Employees covered by D.C.'s wage payment law include "any person suffered or permitted to work by an employer except any person employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity (as such terms are defined and delimited by regulations promulgated by the Council of the District of Columbia)."

What wages are protected by the D.C. wage law?

The District of Columbia wage law defines wages as "monetary compensation after lawful deductions, owed by an employer for labor or services rendered, whether the amount is determined on a time, task, piece, commission, or other basis of calculation."

When must an employer pay an employee wages earned?

In general, employers in the District of Columbia must pay employees wages earned at least twice a month on regular paydays.

If an employee resigns or is fired, when must the employer pay wages that were earned before the employee's departure?

In general, the District of Columbia Wage Payment and Wage Collection Law requires payment of wages earned prior to an employee's departure as follows:

Termination: "Whenever an employer discharges an employee, the employer shall pay the employee's wages earned not later than the working day following such discharge; provided, however, that in the instance of an employee who is responsible for monies belonging to the employer, the employer shall be allowed a period of 4 days from the date of discharge or resignation for the determination of the accuracy of the employee's accounts, at the end of which time all wages earned by the employee shall be paid."

Voluntary Resignation: "Whenever an employee (not having a written contract of employment for a period in excess of 30 days) quits or resigns, the employer shall pay the employee's wages due upon the next regular payday or within 7 days from the date of quitting or resigning, whichever is earlier."

If work is suspended because of a labor dispute, when does an employer have to pay wages that an employee has earned?

In the case of a labor dispute resulting in suspension of work, the employer must pay wages earned at the time of the work suspension by the next regular payday.

What if the employer disputes the amount of wages due?

If there is a "bona fide dispute" about the amount of wages earned by an employee, the employer must provide the employee with written notice of the amount the employer concedes to be due and must pay the amount conceded as required by the law.

Can an employee waive the right to receive wages earned?

Unless a specific exception exists in the law (such as terms of a collective bargaining agreement), an employee's right to receive payment for wages earned cannot be waived.

This information is not intended to and should not be construed as legal advice for any specific employment action. If you have questions about payment of wages under District of Columbia law or other employment law issues, feel free to contact Lori J. Searcy, Searcy Business Litigation & Employment Law, LLC at 703-644-4122.

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* Searcy Business Litigation & Employment Law represents clients in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia, including Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County, the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax. The firm also serves clients in the Virginia counties of Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Frederick, Madison, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren, as well as the cities of Fredericksburg and Winchester, Virginia and more.

All legal information provided on this website is general and should not be used or relied on as legal advice as legal advice cannot be given without full
consideration of all relevant information relating to a specific situation.

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