The MWAA Airport Workers Wage Program (“Program”) is the program through which MWAA applies its Airport Workers Wage Policy (“Policy”) and a set of rules it has prepared for the implementation, administration and enforcement of the Policy (“Administrative Rules”). The Program, Policy, and Administrative Rules requires “Covered Businesses” to pay their employees for all work performed on the Airport at an hourly wage rate that is no less than the policy’s “Base Wage Rate” in effect at the time. 



Pursuant to Resolution 22-38, the Board of Directors of the Airports Authority (“Board") established the Base Wage Rate at $16.00 effective January 1, 2024. Under the Program, this amount shall be adjusted each January 1 thereafter based on the annual change in the Employment Cost Index for wages and salaries for the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area as of the end of the 2nd Quarter (June 30) of the prior calendar year.



In 2016, the Board initiated a review of the levels of compensation that certain businesses operating on Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports were providing their on-Airport workers. The Board formed a special committee to undertake this review and submit recommendations to the Board. The special committee obtained input from airlines, concessionaries, labor organizations and airport workers, and received briefings from Airports Authority staff, which culminated in a committee report recommending the Board adopt an Airport Workers Wage Policy. On April 19, 2017, the Board passed Resolution No. 17-8 formally adopting an Airport Workers Wage Policy.

In Resolution No. 17-8, the Board further authorized the Airports Authority’s President and Chief Executive Officer to prepare “a set of rules, requirements and procedures for the implementation and administration of the Airport Workers Wage Policy.” Pursuant to this authorization, on August 22, 2017, the Airports Authority issued Orders & Instructions No. 1-4-1B, which contains the rules, requirements, and procedures the Airports Authority uses to administer the Airport Workers Wage Policy.

In June 2019, the Board formed a second special committee to analyze the impacts of the Program. In December 2019, the Board passed Resolution 19-24, increasing the Base Wage Rate for the years 2021-2023, and expanding the types of businesses covered by the Program effective December 14, 2022. Finally, in Resolution 22-38, the Board revisited the Policy and set rates for years beginning 2024.




Question: Which businesses are covered by the Airport Workers Wage Program? 

Answer: The Board-adopted Airport Workers Wage Policy applies to businesses operating at Reagan National or Dulles International Airport which provide (1) commercial aviation support services to airlines operating at the Airport,  (2) concession services within a terminal or concourse at the Airport to passengers and other Airport patrons and (3) in-flight meals prepared on airport or (after June 30, 2020) at a location outside of Reagan National and Dulles International Airports to airlines operating on the Airports. These businesses are referred to as “Covered Businesses.”  

Question: What workers are covered by the Airport Workers Wage Program? 

Answer: The Program covers all Fair Labor Standards Act non-exempt, hourly employees of a covered business who work on an Airport, whether they are full-time or part-time, or permanent or temporary employees. The Program does not cover employees of a covered business who only make deliveries or pickups, or otherwise perform only irregular or occasional work, on an Airport.

Question: How does the Airport Workers Wage Program apply to tipped employees? 

Answer: The Program applies to tipped employees similar to the manner in which the federal FLSA applies the federal minimum wage requirement to tipped employees. Under the Program, covered businesses are to pay their tipped employees no less than $2.13 per hour in direct wages. Additionally, covered businesses must ensure that the combination of these direct wages and the tips received by tipped employees in any workweek is no less than the compensation required by the Program (i.e., the current Base Wage Rate). If this combination of direct wages and tips is less than the Base Wage Rate, the covered business employer is to make up the shortfall. 

Question: How does the Airport Workers Wage Program apply to overtime work? 

Answer: Employees of covered businesses who are eligible for overtime pay under the FLSA are eligible for overtime pay under the Policy. For employees whose regular rate of pay is the Base Wage Rate, the Policy provides that they be paid for each hour of overtime work at 1.5 times the Base Wage Rate.  

Question: Under the Airport Workers Wage Program, are we required to pay the current Base Wage Rate to staff for non-work hours, including those using paid vacation time?

Answer: Similar to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Airports Workers Wage Program requires Covered Businesses to pay its Covered Workers only for the hours they work. See, e.g., O&I 1-4-1B, Section 3 in Part II, Paragraph C. The program and its wage requirements do not apply to vacation time, sick leave, or other non-worked hours when an employee is in a paid leave status.  

Question: Are businesses covered by the Airport Workers Wage Program required to pay their seasonal employees in accordance with the Program – i.e., at a rate no less than the Base Wage Rate?

Answer: Seasonal employees are covered by the Program if, during the period of employment, they “work on an airport” on a regular basis. Employees are considered to regularly work on an airport if they are assigned to an on-airport office or work site of their covered business employer and, at or from that location, or are regularly prepared to perform on-airport work. Employees are also considered to regularly work on an airport if, on a regular basis, they are directed by their employer to report to one or more other locations on an airport and they are prepared to perform on-airport work at those locations.

Question: Is a “sub-lessee” concession business which leases space under a lease from the Authority’s concession program manager covered by the Airport Workers Wage Program?

Answer: Yes. A concession program manager is obligated to ensure that its sub-lessee has agreed in writing (i.e., in the sublease) to perform all of the obligations under the Program incurred by its lease with the concession fee manager.

Question: Is a business covered by the Workers Wage Program required to pay the program’s Base Wage Rate to students who are hired on a temporary basis (for example, summer interns)?

Answer: The Program does not distinguish temporary student workers from any other workers employed by a Covered Business. If the temporary student workers are working on an airport, compensated on an hourly basis, and are not “exempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act, they are to be paid no less than the Program’s current Base Wage Rate.   




Below are forms that may be useful to Covered Businesses in meeting the requirements of the Airport Workers Wage Policy and the O&I’s Administrative Rules:


Questions regarding the Airport Workers Wage Program may be submitted to [email protected].



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