22 Years Later, Waiters Still Work for $2.13 a Hour

Legislation could raise minimum, used in 13 states, this year
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2013 8:40 AM CDT
22 Years Later, Waiters Still Work for $2.13 a Hour
Waitresses still face a $2.13 minimum wage.   (Shutterstock)

Many waiters are still waiting for their minimum wage to rise—which it hasn't in more than two decades. The federal minimum for servers is set at $2.13 an hour, though if they don't make at least the regular minimum of $7.25 when tips are added in, employers are supposed to make up the difference. That doesn't always happen, a waitress tells Bloomberg. She saw her wages plummet when she moved from California, which has a state minimum of $6.75, to New Mexico, which is one of 13 states to use the federal minimum.

President Obama has called for an increase in the tipped minimum, and things could change if Congress takes action on legislation this year. A bill introduced last month would boost the figure to $3 and eventually to 70% of the full minimum wage, which itself would rise to $10.10 by 2015. But some business owners and economists fear a wage boost could prompt cuts to jobs and hours, and House Republicans aren't likely to support the idea, says a former Bush administration official. (More waitress stories.)

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