Minnesota lawmakers made headlines this past legislative session when they voted to raise the minimum wage in the state to $9.50 an hour by 2016, a move that has been since been lauded by both employees throughout the state and employment advocacy groups across the nation.
It should be noted, however, that Minnesota's jump past the national minimum wage level of $7.25 per hour was not universally embraced by all parties.
For instance, one prominent voice to emerge in the minimum wage debate is the Minnesota Restaurant Association, which has long held that any significant wage bump could prove devastating to the industry.
It should come as no surprise then that the group has already indicated that it will be lobbying for a change to the law as it relates to servers and other tipped employees, arguing that it will save restaurants much-needed funds.
Specifically, the Minnesota Restaurant Association will be calling for the addition of a "tipped employee tier" to Minnesota's recently amended wage laws, such that the minimum wage for servers and other tipped employees who earn $12 and up per hour via wages and gratuity to have their hourly wage set at $8 per hour.
Minnesota is currently one of only seven states whose laws mandate that employers must pay out the full minimum wage before gratuity. On the other end of the spectrum are 19 states whose laws mandate that servers can be paid the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 per hour in addition to a so-called "tip credit" that serves to raise their pay to the national minimum wage.
According to the Minnesota Restaurant Association, the tipped employee tier would serve as sort of a middle ground between these two polar opposites.
The group has already indicated that it doesn't plan on pursuing any real change during the 2015 session. This makes sense when you stop to consider the general absence of support for such a measure among state lawmakers and the upcoming November elections.
What are your thoughts on this proposal?
It is important for those who believe that they have been victimized by employee misclassification, unpaid overtime or minimum wage violations to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about their rights and options.
Source: The Minnesota Daily, "Tipped worker pay stirs up minimum wage debate," Taylor Nachtigal, July 9, 2014