On November 8, 2022, DC Voters passed the "District of Columbia Tip Credit Elimination Act of 2021" aka Initiative 82, by a very large margin. Starting in the Spring of 2023, DC's subminimum tipped wage (currently $5.35 per hour) will graudally increase a few dollars each year and by 2027 Initiative 82 will ensure all tipped workers receive DC's full minimum wage of at least $16.10 plus tips on top!

Initiative 82 Effective May 1, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 Thursday, April 27, 2023

Adam Eidinger, 202-744-2671

Washington, DC’s Ballot Initiative 82 Effective May 1st

Tipped Workers Will Receive First of Two Pay Raises in 2023


WASHINGTON, DC — After numerous delays, on May 1, 2023, Washington, DC’s tipped workers will receive their first pay increase as a result of Ballot Initiative 82 going into effect. The initiative, which was passed in the 2022 general election with nearly 74% support, will increase the tipped minimum wage by 65 cents to $6 an hour on May 1. There will be a second increase of $2 which will take place two months later on July 1, 2023, and there will be subsequent $2 increases every year thereafter until 2027 when the tipped minimum wage will match Washington, DC’s prevailing minimum wage.

The prevailing minimum wage in DC is currently $16.10 and will increase to $17 on July 1. Had Initiative 82 not become law, the tipped minimum wage would remain $5.35 until July 1, when it would have only increased 30 cents on July 1 to $5.65, instead of increasing a combined total $2.65 in 2023 thanks to the pay raises outlined Initiative 82. The gap between the tipped minimum wage on July 1 will be $9 and by 2027 will become $0, when the tipped minimum wage matches the prevailing minimum wage.

This historic ballot initiative is aimed at reducing the wage gap between tipped workers and non-tipped workers, and providing a fair living wage for all residents of the District of Columbia. The initiative was passed with overwhelming support from both workers and employers, and has been hailed as a victory for labor rights in the nation’s capital. By gradually eliminating the tipped minimum wage, in 2027 Washington, DC will join Alaska, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in becoming a One Fair Wage state.

“May 1st is a great day for tipped workers in Washington, DC,” said Ryan O’Leary, proposer of Initiative 82 and former tipped worker. “We have been fighting for fair wages and equal treatment for years, and this initiative is a step in the right direction. It’s a shame that it took so long, but we’re happy to finally see some progress.”

The tipped minimum wage is a controversial issue across the United States, with many workers and labor advocates arguing that it perpetuates income inequality and leaves workers vulnerable to exploitation by employers and sexual harassment by customers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour has not been increased since 1991, and many tipped workers struggle to make ends meet.

“We’re extremely proud to be part of this movement to provide fair wages for all workers,” said Kris Furnish, a former tipped worker and member of the DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry, which advocated for the passage of the ballot initiative. “No one who works full-time should have to live in poverty. Initiative 82 will help ensure that all workers in Washington, DC are able to support themselves and their families.”

The increase in the tipped minimum wage, and its gradual elimination, will benefit thousands of workers in Washington, DC, including servers, bartenders, valets, nail salon technicians, and other tipped workers in the restaurant and hospitality industries. It is estimated that the increase will boost the incomes of these workers by an average of $4,000 per year, providing much-needed relief for workers.

“Starting with Initiative 76 in 2015, many of us have worked on this issue for nearly 8 years so we are thankful that the unethical tip credit will finally be eliminated and tipped workers will soon make the same hourly wage as non-tipped workers,” says Adam Eidinger, treasurer of the DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry and former tipped worker.

Now that the ballot initiative has become law and the first pay raise has gone into effect, the DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry is being retired. “I hope the DC Council keeps their hands off this ballot initiative. The voters have spoken, again, and we know we can pass this again,” concludes Eidinger.


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DC Voters Eliminate the Unethical Tip Credit, Again

DC Voters Eliminate the Unethical Tip Credit, Again - Initiative 82 - THANK YOU DC VOTERS!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Nikolas Schiller, 202-643-3878
Adam Eidinger, 202-744-2671

DC Voters Eliminate the Unethical Tip Credit, Again

Support Shown in All 8 Wards

Initiative 82 Passes With 74% of YES Vote

Passes in Every Precinct with More Support Than Initiative 77 in 2018


WASHINGTON, DC — The DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry, the campaign committee behind Initiative 82, is thankful that the majority of voters in Washington, DC cast a YES vote in yesterday’s general election. While there are still ballots being counted, the total counted on election night statistically indicates the passage of Initiative 82 with approximately 74% of DC voters casting a YES vote.

The “District of Columbia Tip Credit Elimination Act of 2021” as Initiative 82 is formally known, will gradually raise DC’s subminimum tipped wage of $5.35 by 2027 and institute one fair wage for all workers in the District of Columbia. By 2026, DC will soon join 8 other states which pay their tipped workers the state’s full minimum wage and allow the tipped workers to keep tips on top. Currently, the unethical tip credit system allows restaurant owners to count customer tips toward their obligation to pay their tipped workers DC’s minimum wage of $16.10 per hour. Thus, for every hour a tipped worker works in DC, $10.75 of customer tips is used to satisfy the minimum wage requirement. By 2027, customer tips will not be used to calculate the tipped worker’s minimum wage but will be added on top of DC’s minimum wage.

“DC voters have once again demanded their voices be heard. This result is a strong rebuke to the Council overturning the will of the people 4 years ago. It’s past time that we pay service workers the full minimum wage plus tips.” said former tipped worker and Initiative 82 proposer, Ryan O’Leary. In 2018, DC voters passed Initiative 77 by a 10 point margin only to have it be overturned by the DC Council later that year. This time around, Mr. O’Leary sought pledges from current DC Council members and six of the thirteen signed. He also was able to receive pledges from newly elected DC Councilmembers Matthew Frumin (Ward 3) and Zachary Parker (Ward 5).

Initiative 82 will not immediately take effect and it is important for the general public to know that the phased-in approach was seen as a better way for the restaurant industry to begin paying its workers more for their labor. Customers should not stop tipping because Initiative 82 was successful. The campaign has always believed customers should always tip for good service.

“Just because tipped workers will see a small bump in their hourly wage, doesn’t mean that the tip credit has been entirely eliminated,” says campaign treasurer Adam Eidinger. “You should continue to tip as you tipped before. If the establishment institutes a service charge, be sure to discuss with your server or bartender how much they get from the service charge and tip accordingly.” Unlike tips, service charges are not property of the server and restaurant owners can use the service charge however they see fit. Currently most tipped workers receive 15% to 25% in tips per customer and the campaign believes that by increasing the hourly wage, tipped workers will end up with more take home income, even with service charges.

First the election will need to be certified by the DC Board of Elections. This involves counting all the ballots that were postmarked on November 8 as well as provisional ballots from same-day voter registrations. Certification is expected during the first week of December 2022. Since DC is not a state, all DC Council enacted legislation, including ballot initiatives, must go to Congress for their 30 day legislative review period before becoming law. We expect Initiative 82 will be transferred to Congress during the first week of January 2023. Barring a “joint motion of disapproval” being passed by both chambers of Congress, Initiative 82 will become DC law sometime between the last week in February 2023 and the second week of March 2023.

Tipped workers will see their first pay raise on the day Initiative 82 becomes law. Their hourly wage will increase 65 cents per hour from $5.35 to $6.00. Then, on July 1, 2023, the hourly wage for tipped workers will increase to $8.00 per hour.

On July 1, 2024, the hourly wage for tipped workers will increase to $10.00 per hour.
On July 1, 2025, the hourly wage for tipped workers will increase to $12.00 per hour.
On July 1, 2026, the hourly wage for tipped workers will increase to $14.00 per hour.
On July 1, 2027, the hourly wage for tipped workers will increase to the current minimum wage for all non-tipped workers. Given that the current non-tipped minimum wage in Washington, DC is indexed to inflation, the final minimum wage on July 1, 2027 cannot be ascertained. Given the current level of inflation, we anticipate it will be close to $20 an hour.


  • DC VOTERS! Without thousands of DC voters casting their YES votes
  • The 150+ petition circulators who braved the winter weather and coronavirus pandemic to get Initiative 82 on the ballot
  • One Fair Wage Action, the political arm of One Fair Wage, for conceiving and supporting this local endeavor
  • Open Society Foundations for the seed money used to pay the petition circulators
  • Dr. Bronner’s for their large donation of organic, fair trade chocolate bars.
  • Joe Sandler and Erin Tibe from the law firm Sandler, Reiff, & Birkenstock for their extensive legal support.
  • Metro DSA volunteers for knocking on over 18,000 doors during the last two months
  • The numerous candidates and organizations who endorsed our campaign
  • The hundreds of small donors who contributed to the campaign

Without everyone’s help, Initiative 82 would still be a dream and now it is a reality!!!


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Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Nikolas Schiller, 202-643-3878
Adam Eidinger, 202-744-2671


Supporters of Initiative 82 & DSA to Gather at Hellbender Brewery to Watch Election Results

Initiative 82 Proposer Available for Interview


WASHINGTON, DC — Supporters of Initiative 82 and the Metro DC Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America will gather at Hellbender Brewery (5788 2nd St NE, Washington, DC 20011) starting at 8:00pm to watch the election results roll in. Current and former tipped workers will be present as well as the Initiative 82 proposer, Ryan O’Leary.

Statement from Mr. O’Leary: “We are expecting a historic win for tipped workers tonight.

WHO: Initiative 82 Proposer Ryan O’Leary, Campaign Supporters, and Metro DC DSA
WHAT: Election Night Watch Party
WHEN: 8:00pm to 11:00pm, Tuesday, November 8, 2022
WHERE: Hellbender Brewery, 5788 2nd St NE, Washington, DC 20011


Click here to download a PDF of this News Advisory