Tipped minimum wage may soon be eliminated in New York after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an upcoming review of the practice.
Outlined in the governor’s December proposal, the New York State Department of Labor will hold hearings about the potential elimination of the state’s tipped minimum wage–currently $7.50 for New York state, the federal tipped minimum wage is $5.37 less.
Although tipped minimum wage has already been eliminated in seven states, New York small business owners are not happy with the news.
“He (Cuomo) makes it sound like people who work for tipped minimum wage are only making $2 an hour in tips,” said Pete Mitchell, owner of Parker’s Grille and Tap House in Geneva, New York and a NFIB member. “I know every restaurant owner in the three surrounding counties and their employees. …Tipped employees make on average $18 to $22 an hour.”
Debbie White, owner and operator of Dutch Village Restaurant in Clymer, New York and a NFIB member, also finds the governor’s proposal unrealistic.
“New York state has driven up the cost of doing business in New York so high that they have almost put myself and other small restaurants out of business. …In 2017, my payroll went up $85,000 when they raised server wage to $7.50–in Pennsylvania it’s $2.38. I could not justify giving my servers $100 more a week without giving the cooks a raise also. The raises equaled 10 percent of my sales,” she said.
The proposal states that the elimination would help avoid potential wage theft through untrackable tips–if a worker does not make the state minimum, currently $10.40, through tips then the employer must pay the difference.
“I wish they would ask people in the restaurant business their opinion before saying that they want to eliminate tipped wages,” Mitchell said. “They’re trying to socially engineer the work environment. …Wishing that there was no tipping, that’s a completely different conversation. As it is right now, people tip.”