Large retailers may have to pay employees $12.50 an hour

WASHINGTON (AP) - The D.C. Council has given preliminary approval to a bill that would require large retailers like Wal-Mart and Target to pay their employees at least $12.50 an hour.

The Washington Post reports that the bill was amended Wednesday to apply only to stores doing business in spaces of 75,000 square feet or more. Before the amendment, it would have applied to companies with yearly sales exceeding $1 billion.

The bill was backed by worker advocates and labor unions who say employees of major chain stores should earn a "living wage." Wal-Mart and other business groups oppose the bill. The city's minimum wage is $8.25 an hour.

Wal-Mart has announced plans to open six stores in the city, and it wasn't immediately clear if the bill would affect those plans.