In testimony provided Wednesday (April 25) to the New York State Department of Labor, State Senator Patty Ritchie spoke out against Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to eliminate the “tipped wage” for restaurant servers and other workers in New York State.
Under the proposal, wages of restaurant employees would see the current tipped wage, which is set by law, increased from the current $7.50 to the state’s minimum wage of $10.40.
The tipped wage is set to rise with the minimum wage over the next few years, and will soon be the highest in the country – more than twice of that of surrounding states.
The law already protects against any worker, tipped or not, earning less than the statutory minimum wage.
In her testimony, Senator Ritchie shared her fears that the approval of the proposal would result in restaurant employees and other workers earning less, increased costs for small businesses, as well as consumers, and a reduction in the number of available jobs in the hospitality industry, which is one of the region’s largest employers.
“Compensation through earned tips contributes to a stronger work ethic and improved performance. It raises standards for the industry and helps ensure better quality service,” Ritchie said in a letter to NYS Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “Eliminating this incentive would leave a bad taste in the mouths of consumers, employers and servers themselves and I feel the state should no longer be considering this plan.”
In recent weeks, Senator Ritchie has met with dozens of servers and restaurant owners who outlined their opposition to this proposal and the crippling effects it would have on their bottom lines.
To read Senator Ritchie’s full testimony, visit www.ritchie.nysenate.gov
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