Minimum wage for servers goes up to a whole $7.50/hour

Those extra dollar bills still make a big difference to your server. via Wikipedia
Those extra dollar bills still make a big difference to your server. via Wikipedia

It’s well-known that New York’s tipping culture is off the charts, and we can chock that up to a the Draconian wage requirements keeping service professionals struggling to make rent each month. Well, according to Capital, things got the eensiest bit better today when the state’s Labor Commission approved Gov. Cuomo’s proposal to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from $5 to $7.50. “Whoopee,” you might be saying as a frequent diner, “now I can ease up on gratuity.” Er, please don’t do that. 

While your waiters might be happy, the New York Restaurant Association issued a statement slamming the increase, calling it an “unprecedented” new challenge for small-business owners. Uh, what the what? Forgive us for getting anti-establishment here, but the restaurant industry in this state isn’t just small potatoes. Plenty of bigger corporate establishments take advantage of these wage minimums, too. Because why pay more when you don’t have to? And occasionally the more independent, under-the-table restaurants get away with much worse: y’all definitely know someone who’s making peanuts off the books in exchange high-tipping clientele, and suffering the consequences of that lifestyle on a slower business day.

So until we adopt the European model where everyone can actually make a living off server wages, do the folks putting out your plates a favor and stick to your 20%.


  1. As an employee-side attorney, I see tipped employees getting screwed coming and going by their employers. From illegal deductions, to illegal tip sharing, to failure to pay regular wages for hours worked that the employee didn’t do “tipped work”, to failure to pay for uniform cleaning, to failure to pay the extra hour for anything over 10 hours worked. IPlus, something like 80 percent of women in that industry report being sexually harassed according to a new study by Nat’l Assc of Working Women. It sucks out there for tipped employees.

    Tipped employees in New York haven’t had a raise since 2011, so it’s about time. If businesses can’t afford to pay the meager $5/hour in 2015, for the amount of hard work that their employees do, I’m not sure the business should be operating.

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