Has the Time Come for Tipped Workers to Receive the Full Minimum Wage?

Date: July 23, 2014

Please join the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC) for this important forum on tipped workers to be held Wednesday, July 23, 2014 from 9:15 – 11:00 a.m. ET.

Not able to attend in person? Bookmark this page and return on July 23 at 9:15 am for a live webcast.

EPI estimates that nearly 4.5 million workers in the U.S. labor force earn tips as part of their income.  For more than 80 percent of these workers, the law allows their employer to pay them below the minimum wage—as little as $2.13 per hour—so long as tips make up the difference. However, mechanisms for ensuring that wages and tips add up to at least the minimum wage have proved inadequate.

In a new report examining tipped employment, EPI research associate Sylvia Allegretto and economic analyst David Cooper explain how this separate tipped-wage system has led to higher poverty rates and greater vulnerability among tipped workers. They also examine growth in the service sector and describe how raising the base wage for tipped workers would improve living standards for millions, without adverse effect on tipped industries.  At the forum, they will present the findings from their recently released report.

Laura A. Fortman, deputy administrator, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, will open the forum and detail her department’s efforts to ensure hospitality industry compliance with applicable laws and standards.

They will be joined by Marcie Gardner, a D.C. restaurant server, Amber Grinden, a BWI Airport restaurant employee and Imar Hutchins, owner of Washington’s Florida Avenue Grill  who will share their perspectives on the need to raise the tipped minimum wage.

This event is free and open to the public. Please register here.