“Raising the Bar for Tip Earners: More States on Board with Full Minimum Wages in 2021
As more states focus on minimum wage this year, tip earners are finally being factored into the equation. Tipped workers drastically outnumber the traditional minimum wage earners, yet their income is often so low it doesn’t meet the federal minimum wage requirement of $7.25 per hour. Many states have taken it upon themselves to make sure tipped workers, such as waiters and bartenders, are being paid a fair wage. Currently, only seven states, along with the District of Columbia, have laws that require employers to pay full minimum wage to front of the house employees, regardless of the tips they receive. New York is one of the latest states to join the trend and has proposed legislation that will require employers to pay tipped workers $15 per hour, the same as the regular minimum wage pay rate set for the state. Other states have either proposed or are in the process of enacting legislation that will ensure wait staff and bartenders receive their due wages. While this will undoubtedly lead to higher operating costs for restaurants and bars, its impact can still be seen as a positive. The conditions in the service industry often leave workers subject to underpay and mistreatment by managers and customers. By providing full minimum wages to employees, states create an environment in which workers are given more power and independence. Furthermore, with greater protections in place, workers could potentially receive better pay, faster and more steady promotions, and greater job security. It’s widely expected that other states will soon follow the example of those already leading the charge to provide fair wages to tipped workers. The coming change in legislation signals a shift in how states view the importance of wages, now including those who are traditionally among the lowest paid.