2 bills in NY aim to ensure tipped workers are paid the minimum wage

Advocates are placing their hopes on two critical bills - one in the Senate and the other in the Assembly—that aim to ensure tipped workers receive the minimum wage, which is currently set at $16 in New York City.

Edric Robinson

Mar 5, 2024, 11:40 PM

Updated 45 days ago

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There’s an ongoing fight for fair wages that could change the lives of countless tipped workers in the city. Advocates are placing their hopes on two critical bills - one in the Senate and the other in the Assembly—that aim to ensure tipped workers receive the minimum wage, which is currently set at $16 in New York City.
"Everyone else except tipped workers are receiving minimum wage, they're entitled to that," says Sen. Robert Jackson.
For workers like restaurant waiters and nail technicians, he says the struggle is real.
"They have lost so many people because they cannot survive off of $10.60 per hour. They can't pay the rent, they can't buy food, they can't buy clothing," Jackson says.
The bill introduced by Jackson and its counterpart bill in the Assembly are pending votes before they reach the governor's desk. Once signed into law, they would require workers to earn minimum wage plus tips. Jackson says most would be surprised to know who makes up this workforce.
"There are tens of thousands of people serving food, and the majority of those people are Black and brown people," says Jackson.
Amidst the advocacy efforts, Jackson pushes back against concerns that the legislation could harm restaurant owners.
“Based on the situation in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon Washington - they’ve all transitioned to minimum wage and tip. It has not negatively impacted the industry,” he says.
Instead, Jackson sees this as a win-win scenario.
"This will keep, in my opinion, steady employment of these individuals so you'll have continuity of services provided to the people versus people leaving for better jobs and opportunities," says Jackson.


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