Dems eye elimination of tipped wages — again

June 01, 2020

Originally published in Observer on June 01, 2020.

For many years, employers of food service employees have been provided with a credit that reduces the hourly minimum wage paid to employees receiving gratuities. These employers now pay $7.50 per hour to workers, so long as workers receive on average the difference between their reduced minimum wage and the statutory minimum wage in tips,” Biaggi wrote in her legislative justification. “Allowing for the tip credit has created many inequities in food service work. Employees who are not made whole by gratuities face arduous legal processes to recover their owed wages, involving complicated record-keeping and inadequate legal remedies.”

Reliance on tips has also created an environment where workers are victimized, and in some cases, encouraged to turn a blind eye, to rampant discrimination and sexual harassment by clientele and managers. This results in annual restaurant employee sexual harassment claims to the EEOC at five times the rate of other industries.”

In short, it is time for New York to join other states and improve the working conditions in the restaurant industry by eliminating the sub-minimum wage,” Biaggi said. “Employers would not be prohibited from allowing for restaurant gratuities, but gratuities would no longer make up the difference between wages received from the restaurant and the actual minimum wage. Providing equity and fairness to restaurant workers would help reduce the wage gap and bring New York in line with many of its sister states in workers’ rights and fairness on the job.”