Raise Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers

Target: United States Congress

Goal: Raise the federal minimum wage for tipped workers to a more fair level.

The federal “sub-minimum” wage is the wage given to workers in a tipped environment. This includes a variety of jobs, primarily in food service. The sub-minimum wage is far below the regular minimum wage, and there is the expectation that this wage plus the tips will equal minimum wage. If a worker does not earn enough tips to make up the difference, the employer is required to pay the difference. However, many workers do not know this, and many employers will not pay the extra. This means tipped workers are left with an extremely low minimum wage of just over $2 per hour.

Many people who do not work tipped jobs are unaware of the sub-minimum wage. This leads to customers not leaving tips because they do not understand how these workers are paid, and the workers do not get the money they are owed from their employer. Additionally, because tipping is a subjective practice, workers receive disproportionate amounts based on their gender. On average, a female waitress will receive $0.83 less in tips than a male waiter. As almost three quarters of tipped workers are female, this shows a clear disparity between the wages of each gender that has come from this subjective tipping. These workers should not have to rely on the kindness of their customers in order to earn a livable wage.

The federal sub-minimum wage needs to be increased to an amount that will allow tipped workers to earn a livable wage. As employers refuse to cover the difference between the amount of tips and full minimum wage, the workers are left to rely only on customers for the bulk of their income. Raising the sub-minimum wage will mean that no matter how many tips are earned, a tipped worker will earn enough money to live on. Tell Congress to raise the sub-minimum wage to a more equal standard.


Dear United States Congress:

The federal sub-minimum wage has been established with the intent that tipped workers will earn up to minimum wage with the tips they receive from customers. If they do not earn enough, their employer is expected to cover the difference. However, not every employer is actually willing to pay their workers the money they are owed, and most workers do not realize they are owed this money. Additionally, as tipping is a subjective practice, tips may vary for workers based on factors such as their gender, age, or race. Women, for example, statistically have lower tips than men, and therefore lower wages.

I ask you to raise the sub-minimum wage to a standard more equal with the minimum wage. Tipped workers currently rely on the kindness of their customers in order to receive a livable wage. Raising the sub-minimum wage will allow any tipped worker to earn a livable wage despite the amount of tips they earn. Tipped workers do work as hard as workers earning minimum wage, and they should not earn less money because of their employers’ ignorance and the subjective standards of their customers.

[Your Name Here]

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