Wage Mandates Hurt Workers

Posted on May 17, 2013

Marcia Pledger’s story on the minimum wage (“Issue of minimum-wage raise fuels passionate proponents, opponents,” Sunday) unfortunately repeats the oft-used falsehood that tipped workers earn “only” $2.13 an hour.

Federal law requires that all tipped employees earn at least the minimum wage of $7.25. Tipped employees actually average $13 an hour when tip income is included, according to Census Bureau data — and top earners earn $24 or more.

Additionally, research suggests that wage mandates actually are a step backward for these employees: Economists from Miami and Trinity universities found a greater than 5 percent drop in hours worked by tipped employees for each 10 percent increase in the tipped wage.

Michael Saltsman, Washington, D.C.

Saltsman is research director for the Employment Policies Institute.