Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tipping Point and the Minimum Wage

The minimum wage for hourly employees is currently a very sad $7.25 per hour. But for many it is $2.13 an hour. That is the "tipped" minimum wage, that is, what employers can pay service workers like restaurant wait staff who regularly receive gratuities as part of their job. While it is certainly true that the tip is income and is made in the course of doing their job, it is not a wage; the waiter or waitress is certainly helping me, but he or she is not working for me, this person is working for the establishment. It seems odd, then, that the establishment can count my thank you for the service against his or her actual wage. At the same time it is expected and it is part of the compensation the worker receives. So, should we have a tipped minimum wage at all? Is this fair?