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“A Wave of Change: Mandatory Full Minimum Wages for Tip Earners Across America!

As many cities in the US have been taking steps to raise minimum wage this year, more states are now considering requiring full minimum wages be paid to tip earners. These efforts come on the heels of an ongoing conversation surrounding the need to raise wages for service sector employees. The concept of a tipped minimum wage started in the 1940s. Service sector employers were allowed to pay tip earners a base wage, lower than minimum wage, as customers’ tips would supplement the employees’ income. This practice has since come under close scrutiny, with many struggling to understand how a worker can survive on substantially reduced wages. Recently, seven states and Washington D.C. have moved to eliminate the tipped minimum wage. 16 other states have also proposed eliminating the tipped wage as part of their respective minimum wage laws. Given the target wage increases proposed by these individual states, it is thought the tipped minimum wage could be eliminated altogether. Advocates of the movement to eliminate the tipped wage are hopeful that the materialization of this initiative will significantly reduce poverty. This could be realized through an increase in the wages of service sector employees, thereby providing them with the necessary economic stability to provide for themselves and their families. In addition, a hike in wages could also significantly reduce employee turnover, making it easier for employers to find quality employees and reduce costs associated with recruiting efforts. Furthermore, supporters of the movement believe that an increase in service sector wages could benefit society as a whole. Many low-income Americans face serious financial strain, which in turn creates social issues such as crime and homelessness. Supporters of the effort believe that increased wages could help ease this strain, as workers would have more disposable income to spend on goods and services, thereby stimulating the economy. Though there remain many advocates of the tipped minimum wage, the reduction of this practice is being widely supported by legislators. As more states consider eliminating the practice, the possibility of a future in which service sector employees are paid at the full minimum wage is becoming increasingly attractive to both employers and employees.