EPI Research

  • Employment, Earnings, and Poverty in the Full-Service Restaurant Sector

    August 2022

    The Fair Labor Standards Act outlines the current tipping system in the United States, whereby customer-facing employees earning tips for their service are paid a required minimum base wage ($2.13 per hour at the federal level) in addition to the tips they earn. The gap between this base tipped wage and the regular federal minimum wage for non-tipped employees is called a “tip credit,” which…
  • Not So FAST: Analyzing Labor Law Compliance at California Fast Food Restaurants: Compiled from California Department of Industrial Relations data

    August 2022

    A.B. 257, the “Fast Food Accountability and Standards (FAST) Recovery Act,” would create a new regulatory scheme for California’s fast food restaurant industry (“limited-service restaurant” or LSR, to use Census terminology). This novel arrangement is ostensibly necessary because the limited-service restaurant industry is allegedly more prone to labor law violations than other industries. Yet a statement comparing working conditions in this industry to conditions in…
  • A Survey of US Economists on a $15 Federal Minimum Wage

    April 2022

    Across the nation, lawmakers continue to grapple with the viability and impact of increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The debate continues to be heated and some cities have already enacted increases they believe will benefit workers. While the impact of these increases is becoming more clear, recent surveys of businesses, franchises and other groups confirm that such minimum wage raises actually harms…
  • The Case for the Tip Credit: From Workers, Employers, and Research

    February 2021

    The tipping system provides substantial earning opportunities for workers across many industries, especially restaurant servers and bartenders – well beyond the current minimum wage, and even beyond the proposed $15 minimum wage. Saving the tip credit is a worker-organized, bipartisan issue. Thousands of tipped workers across the country have pushed to save the tip credit, against the infringement of outside interests and activists. Yet, interest…
  • Tipped Workers, Minimum Wage Workers, and Poverty: Analyzing the Redistributive Impact of Eliminating Tip Credits

    February 2021

    Key takeaway: According to a new study by economists from the University of California, Irvine, tipped workers are significantly less likely to be poor than are standard minimum wage earners. Tipped workers, many of whom are in the food and beverage service industry, have lower statutory minimum wages than other workers (under federal and most state laws). However, the lower minimum wages for tipped workers…
  • The National Impact of a $15 Minimum Wage: Over 2 Million Jobs Lost

    January 2021

    President Biden and recent legislation have proposed more than doubling the federal minimum wage to $15, and raising the separate federal tipped minimum wage by as much as 600 percent. Rather than providing relief from the pandemic, the best economic evidence shows this proposal would worsen its consequences. This analysis is based on a 2019 methodology developed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimated…