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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Would Higher Minimum Wage for Tip-Earners Help or Hurt Struggling Low-Pay Workers?

Wages determine rates of workers' compensation. The lowest wage earners go unnoticed in the struggle to increase benefits. Today's post is shared from .

Advocates decry current $2.13 per hour as unfair, while restaurant owners say hike would eliminate jobs, might backfire by reducing tips

An increase in the minimum wage for workers who rely on tips to $5.93 -- which would make New Jersey’s minimum wage for tip-earners one of the nation’s highest -- -- is being considered by the state Legislature

New Jersey law currently allows tip workers to be paid $2.13 an hour, but requires employers to pay additional compensation if the employee’s hourly wage and tips do not at least equal the general minimum wage. The federal tip wage is $2.13 and has not been increased since 1993.

The legislation, , was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee on March 24 by a 5-3 vote. It would increase the wage in two increments, from the current $2.13 an hour to $3.37 on Dec. 31, 2014, and to $5.93 on Dec. 31, 2015. The bill has not been scheduled for a floor vote and its Senate companion, S-1595, has not been scheduled for a Senate Labor Committee hearing.

Some tip-workers, and their advocates, say the increase is needed to stabilize the wages of bartenders, waitresses and others who rely on tips. Advocates say that many in the industry are barely scraping by, with many living below the poverty line.

Restaurant owners and the New Jersey Restaurant...

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