It has now been four years since the federal minimum wage has been raised. Minimum wage workers currently earn $7.25 per hour—an annual income of $15,080 a year for a full-time worker.
The situation is even worse for America’s tipped workers. According to the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, “The tipped minimum wage has been frozen at $2.13 since 1991 or 22 years. In 1996 and 2007, Congress passed legislation increasing the minimum wage but not the tipped minimum wage.” The restaurant industry--one of the most common industries for tipped workers -- is one of the largest growing industries in the nation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Currently, about 1 in 12 Americans work in restaurants. According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), “Tipped workers are more than twice as likely to fall under the federal poverty line, and restaurant servers in particular are three times as likely to fall under the federal poverty line. Raising the tipped minimum wage remains a key priority for reducing poverty and economic hardship among workers who rely on tips.”
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