Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Congresswoman from New York, recently has been outspoken about her support of the One Fair Wage campaign. This campaign would raise the national minimum wage to $15 for everyone, including workers who work for tips.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but is only $2.13 an hour for those who can expect tips from customers. These jobs fall into the category of any person who receives more than $30 in tips per month. Many states require a higher pay than the federal minimum, but most states still have lower pay requirements for those earning tips.
This method of paying tip earners the same pay as regular hourly workers is similar to the practices of many countries around the world. In these countries, servers and bartenders and other traditionally tipped positions do not receive tips, but instead make a normal wage, which is why tipping seems unusual to those visiting the United States from other countries. The whole point of this would be to create a stable, predictable income for those in the service industry, effectively ending the tip system in the United States.
Some campaigners for the Fair Labor Standards Act claim that employees don’t often receive the proper compensation. You see, technically, if a server earning $2.13 an hour does not receive enough tips in one night to cover the difference between their wage and the minimum wage, their employer is supposed to cover the difference. This means that no tipped employee actually gets paid less than any other employee. The issue is if the employers actually pay it or not.
The ballot that was proposed by the ROC (Restaurant Opportunities Centers) claims a goal to phase out the current minimum wage in Washing D.C. of tipped employees and to slowly start raising it with the goal of hitting the $15 dollar mark by 2026. This was eventually repealed by D.C. city officials due to a large public outcry against the act.
The whole idea of raising the minimum wage is a pretty divisive topic and some people get extremely heated about it. No matter what side of the aisle you’re on you need to participate in constructive conversation with people, trying to figure out a common ground without arguing and fighting. The main goal here is to figure out what is best for the people who receive tips and what they want. Worker’s rights will remain a key issue for the next few years, especially with the 2020 elections coming soon.
I encourage you to take some time to think about the people who serve you, the ones working hard to earn a tip that they don’t know they will get. If people tip well, then tipped employees won’t ask for a raise in wage because what they get will be satisfactory, and we won’t have to worry about raising the minimum wage and changing our entire service system.
What do you think? Should the minimum wage for servers and other tipped employees be raised, or is their wage fair for a fair day’s work? Let us know in the comments below!