The New Trend of Eliminating Tips Might Help Make Up the Minimum Wage Gap

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In a perfect world, good service would mean a good tip, but that doesn't always happen. That might just be why more and more restaurants are doing away with the tipped-worker model, which largely depends on diner kindness rather than employer satisfaction to pay employees. From New York to L.A., restaurants are paying servers and bartenders traditional wages and telling patrons to save the tip, and with the national minimum wage for tipped workers being a paltry $2.13 an hour, that might not be a bad thing.

See also: Is it Ever Okay Not to Tip?

Though most states, including Arizona, require a higher starting wage for tipped workers than the national standard, that the little extra doesn't really amount to much in the end. According to NPR, tipped workers are "twice as likely as other workers to experience poverty."

In our state, tipped workers are required to be paid at least $4.80 per hour, while non-tipped workers get $7.90, which is up from $7.80 in 2013. Although a Democratic Senate bill would have increased the minimum wage for non-tipped workers to $10.10 per hour and tipped workers to about $7 per hour, it was struck down in April and probably won't be pushed through anytime soon.

However, according to Huffington Post, some restaurant owners are taking matters into their own hands by eliminating tipping entirely and paying fair, livable wages. One such restaurant in L.A.'s Brand 158, owned by Gabriel Frem, who explains his no-tip policy in the Huffington Post interview:

"We interview and hire our employees, not the guest, and we expect to pay them and be responsible for their actions," he said.

"If they do great, we keep them, and if they don't, we let them go. We don't want their pay to be at the mercy of a guest's random calculation, based on unpredictable factors."

While Valley restaurants have yet to jump on the no-tip bandwagon, it might be time to examine how to get tipped workers paid a livable wage, since the feds likely won't budge on the matter anytime soon.

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