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 / March 1, 2017 / 0 Comments
 / April 2, 2015 / 0 Comments

Last year, legislation was introduced to help ensure proper payment of employee wages through the “Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014.”  This bill became effective on February 26, 2015. The bill specifically states that every employer shall furnish to each employee at the time of hiring a written notice containing detailed information about the employees’ wages. In addition, employers must provide the same written notice to existing employees within 90 days (May 27, 2015) of the Bill’s effective date. As proof of compliance, every employer must retain copies of the written notice furnished to employees that are signed and dated by the employer and by the employee acknowledging receipt of the notice.

 

For more information, a copy of the final bill, and a template of the notification, please visit the D.C. Department of Employment Services at http://does.dc.gov/service/wage-and-hour-compliance. HAWDC encourages members to contact their HR and legal departments with any specific questions.

 

 / December 4, 2014 / 0 Comments

On Tuesday, December 2nd, the District Council passed the “Sex Trafficking of Minors Prevention Act of 2014”.  The goal of the legislation is to enhance certain aspects of the District’s laws to prohibit human trafficking, particularly as it pertains to the trafficking of minor children.  A hotel will be required to post a sign if an arrest for a human trafficking offense that leads to a conviction was made at the property.  The sign will be required to be posted for one (1) year, and any hotel that self-reports any incident or suspected incident to law enforcement will be exempt from the posting requirement should a conviction stem from the self-reporting.

The bill is currently being transmitted to the Mayor for his signature, and will then have to go through a 90-day congressional review process.  HAWDC will continue to monitor this legislation and update our Members accordingly.

 / December 4, 2014 / 0 Comments

Last year, a bill was introduced at the District Council that would seek to develop medium-priced hotels in the New York Avenue corridor.  The “New York Avenue Gateway Hotel Development and Financial Services Act of 2013” would provide for property tax abatements and exemptions for the construction of new medium-priced hotels in the corridor. 

In September, the Council held a hearing on this bill, at which Solomon Keene, HAWDC’s President, testified in opposition.  While HAWDC supports the development of new hotels in the District and values the economic benefits that hotel development brings, including tax revenue, job creation, and community revitalization, the bill if passed would have unintended consequences that would negatively impact our industry, as well as the city as a whole.  After the hearing, HAWDC remained steadfast with continued discussions with Councilmembers regarding our concern about the bill.

In late November, the Council’s Chair of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, who had oversight of the bill, tried several times to move the bill out of Committee, but was unable to.  Due to the upcoming end of a Council Period, with the failure to vote on this bill at this time, the bill will die and cannot be voted on in its current form.  In January, a new Council Period will begin, and HAWDC will continue to monitor this legislation to see if it is re-introduced.  As customary, we will update Members accordingly. 

 / August 5, 2014 / 0 Comments

On Tuesday, July 29th, Mayor Gray signed the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2014” into law.  This bill advances several sustainability initiatives, including banning the use of Styrofoam in the District, effective January 1, 2016.  The law also contains key provisions to support benchmarking reporting through expanded utility data access.

Effective January 1, 2015, utility companies will be required to provide building owners with access to whole-building aggregated energy and water consumption data for benchmarking.  The companies will also be required to automatically upload the energy consumption data to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager on a monthly basis.  These requirements will assist building owners by easing the process of benchmarking and energy use disclosure. 

Additionally, the law requires transfer of utility records when a property subject to the benchmarking requirements changes ownership, to ensure that the new owner will be able to track the building’s energy performance.  New owners will be required to benchmark the building and report the results for the year the building was purchased.

For additional information regarding benchmarking click here.

 / July 23, 2014 / 0 Comments

As you know, HAWDC works closely with the DC Taxicab Commission to ensure that the District and taxicab industry strive to deliver the best taxicab service possible to visitors to our city.  As a part of that collaboration, HAWDC would like to remind Members of the below regulations when operating a taxicab line in front of your hotel.

  • Taxicab lines may be occupied only by a District of Columbia licensed taxicab that is available for hire.
  • Taxicabs shall be placed on stands only from the rear and shall be moved forward and to the front of the stand immediately as space becomes available by the departure or movement of preceding taxicabs. It shall be within the passenger's discretion to determine which taxicab to engage on a taxi stand.
  • No taxicab shall loiter in front of a hotel or in the vicinity of a taxicab stand which is occupied to full capacity.  Specifically, there shall be no stopping, except to either take on or discharge a passenger, or unnecessarily slow driving.
  • Doormen or front-line staff shall not exclude any licensed District taxicab operator from picking up passengers at a taxicab stand or other location where taxicabs are regularly allowed to pick up passengers on the hotel premises.  Hotels and their employees who do not follow this rule may receive a fine of three hundred dollars ($300), or imprisonment for not more than ninety (90) days, or both.
  • Limousine and digital hail vehicles (i.e. Uber, Hailo, Lyft, etc.) may be used only if: 1) they are registered and display valid and current livery tags from the District Department of Motor Vehicles; 2) the trip is not booked in response to a street hail; 3) they do not accept cash payment for services – all financial transactions must be done with a credit card on-file with the car service prior to entering the vehicle.   
  • Limousine or digital hail vehicles that were not previously hired by a customer through a dispatch service or digital means may not advance in front of any duly licensed taxicab that is waiting in cue in a designated taxicab line.

Please remind your doormen and front-line staff of these regulations and the potential for penalties to them and the hotel as the Taxicab Commission reserves the right to enforce these regulations at will.

 / June 23, 2014 / 0 Comments

On Tuesday, July 1, 2014, the District’s minimum wage is set to increase from $8.25 per hour to $9.50 per hour for all workers, regardless of the size of employer.  The “Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013” was signed into law by Mayor Gray on January 15, 2014 after unanimous passage by the D.C. Council.

Under the new law, the minimum wage will increase by $1.00 on July 1 each year through 2016, until it reaches $11.50 per hour. Beginning July 1, 2017, the minimum wage will then increase annually in proportion to the annual average increase in the Consumer Price Index.  The base minimum wage for tipped restaurant employees will remain at $2.77 per hour. However, if an employee’s hourly tip earnings (averaged weekly) added to the base minimum wage do not equal the District’s full minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mohammad Sheik, Department of Employment Services, Deputy Director, Labor Standards Bureau at 202-671-0588.

 / April 9, 2014 / 0 Comments

Last week, HAWDC members attended the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s annual Legislative Action Summit here in Washington, DC.  On day one of the Summit, attendees listened to a panel of lodging CEOs who provided insight into issues impacting hotels’ bottom line.  Attendees also heard from the following Congressional members: Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who discussed issues from the 2014 congressional legislative agenda that may impact the lodging industry, such as healthcare reform, international travel priorities, and immigration policies.  On day two of the Summit, attendees headed to the Hill to speak with Members of Congress and voiced their concerns about issues that may impact the industry.

 / March 24, 2014 / 0 Comments

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has updated its bomb threat checklist and guidance brochure.  These are quick reference guides designed to help employees and security staff respond to a potential threat in an orderly and controlled manner in conjunction with first responders and other stakeholders.  Click here and here for the updated materials.  For more information about the forms, contact OBP@dhs.gov.

 / February 21, 2014 / 0 Comments

Recently, Councilmember Tommy Wells introduced the “Fair Criminal Record Screening Act of 2014.”  This bill, commonly referred to as “Ban the Box”, would prohibit employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s prior convictions before a conditional offer of employment is given to the applicant.  Employers would no longer be able to ask about an applicant’s conviction history on any employment application or during an interview.  Once an offer is made, the employer may run a background check on the applicant, and may only withdraw an offer of employment for a legitimate business reason.

Recognizing the impact that this may have on Members, HAWDC has been in communication with Council Members expressing our concerns.  The Association recognizes that returning citizens that have paid their debt to society should be afforded the opportunity to find meaningful and gainful employment.  However, the Council must balance this need for employment with an employer’s right to efficiently execute its business model.  HAWDC will continue our discussions with Council Members and will update our Members accordingly.