Bill would require employers to pay minimum wage for tipped workers – The Legislative Gazette
A coalition of tip workers and state lawmakers are calling for a A fair salary policy in the state budget that would guarantee a fixed minimum wage for restaurant servers and other tip workers in service industries.
On March 9, 2022, Senators Alessandra Biaggi and Brad Holyman and Assembly Members Catalina Cruz and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas met with a group of restaurant workers at the State Capitol to demand passage of a bill of law (S.808 / A.2244) that would eliminate the sub-minimum wage for food service workers and others who work for tips.
Under the bill, employers would not be prohibited from allowing tips, but tips would no longer make up the difference between wages received from the restaurant and the actual minimum wage.
Hoylman sponsors a bill (S.8386) that would create the Restaurant Recovery Fund, providing forgivable loans to restaurants that pay full minimum wage plus tips to their restaurant workers. This bill is sponsored at the Assembly by González-Rojas.
National organization One Fair Wage says this bill – sponsored by Senator Biaggi and Congresswoman Cruz — would help the restaurant industry by promising fair wages and luring former employees back to the jobs they left during the ‘big quit’ over the past two years.
the invoice also aims to raise the minimum wage for other tip workers, including nail technicians, car wash attendants, hairstylists and others whose wages are often subsidized by tips alongside restaurant workers.
Employers of food service employees received a credit that reduces the minimum hourly wage paid to employees who receive tips. These employers now pay workers $7.50 an hour, as long as the workers on average receive the difference between their wages and the legal minimum wage in tips.
Eight states – Alaska, California, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) eliminated the tip credit and required employers to pay full minimum wage to employees. According to the bill memo, these states have seen a growth in the restaurant industry and a fairer, more experienced workforce.
Yamila Ruiz, director of communications for One Fair Wage, explained why the organization believes change is vital to the survival of the restaurant industry.
“New York State has the highest restaurant worker out-migration rate of any other state in the United States. That’s double the national out-migration rate,” Ruiz said. means more workers are leaving than anywhere else in this country.”
According to research conducted by One Fair Wage in accordance with the UC Berkeley Food Work Research Center, one million New York State workers have quit their jobs in the restaurant industry since the start of the pandemic and 53% plan to leave.
Further away research by the organization also found that of employees who left, 70% say it was because of low pay and 90% say the only thing that could get them back to work is a decent salary with extra tips.
Ruiz also cites working conditions as the reason for many worker departures.
“Of one in ten workers who left the industry nationwide, one in five left New York. All workers and women in particular say their tips have gone down. I know restaurants in New York have been very slow for the past few months and sexual harassment has increased dramatically since the pandemic began,” Ruiz said. “Thousands of women have told us they’ve received rude comments from customers saying things like ‘take off your mask so I know how much to tip you’.”
MP Gonzales-Rojas believes the issue is intersectional and affects many different people in marginalized communities.
“It’s a matter of worker justice, it’s a matter of gender justice, it’s a matter of racial justice and in communities like mine, it’s a matter of justice for immigrants. We come out of Black History Month and we are in Women’s History Month and we need to recognize the intersections of this fight,” Gonzalez-Rojas said.