Restaurant Waitstaff Stuck at $2.13 Minimum Wage for 22 Years

Photo (cc) by alberth2

The federal minimum wage in 1991 was $4.25 for most workers. It rose to $4.75 in 1996, $5.15 in 1997, $5.85 in 2007, $6.55 in 2008, and $7.25 in 2009.

The federal minimum wage for waitstaff, bellhops, manicurists and others who rely on tips was $2.13 in 1991. It’s still $2.13 today, although new legislation might finally raise it, Bloomberg says.

Technically, those people should still make no less than $7.25 per hour. If their tips aren’t enough to fill in the gap, their employer is required by law to pay the difference. But not all employers do. Bloomberg cites a waitress whose didn’t — and that could put under-appreciated staff in the position of fighting for their due.

Some states have a minimum wage higher than the federal rate. In states that have a lower or no minimum wage, the federal minimum applies, the Department of Labor says. But only seven states require the same minimum for both tipped and non-tipped workers, according to Bloomberg.

There are an estimated 2.3 million servers in the U.S., and a wage increase could help many. It could also hurt some, if opponents of an increase are to be believed. Some restaurant owners claim their margins are so thin they would have to fire staff and cut hours, or raise prices.

Proposed legislation would raise the full non-tipped minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2015 and require that tipped staffers are paid no less than 70 percent of that. That works out to at least $7.07 coming directly from employers. But both the National Restaurant Association and Republican congressional leaders have voiced opposition to raising the minimum wage.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Most Popular
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages

With bipartisan support, this bill could help millions of workers and retirees boost or conserve their retirement savings.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.