In the United States, it is currently legal to pay an entire class of workers just $2.13 per hour. In much of the country, businesses like restaurants, salons, and hotels are allowed to pay their tipped workers this starvation wage, with the responsibility of paying a living wage pawned off onto customers.
In theory, employers are legally obligated to make up the difference if an employee’s tips do not bring them up to the full minimum wage, but that’s incredibly difficult to enforce.
The subminimum wage limits millions of workers’ ability to contribute fully to the economy, especially at a time when 86% of restaurant workers nationwide report that tips have decreased since the start of the pandemic. All workers, regardless of whether they’re tipped or not, should be paid at least the state minimum wage.
The above excerpt was originally published in MarketWatch.
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