Shame on the restaurant owners that sent their workers to the State House to voice “their” opinion of the new minimum wage law. I get a sense they’ve been misled by their leaders to rally against a law written to benefit them. It stings me, the loyal customer, to read that some assume I will no longer tip them if they make the minimum wage. In fact, it excites me to think that our food service industry might actually generate near-living wages for many of its hard-working employees. When I get my check for the food, I’ll tip fairly as always. Tip etiquette isn’t thrown out the window because I know you might be able to afford a student loan or mortgage payment now.

Fear of the tip credit, it seems to me, comes from the management side of the business (or perhaps the business lobby). For a very long time, my tips and yours have acted like a wage subsidy. Eliminating the tip credit only means that employers cannot use tips earned from good service to cover their obligation to pay a minimum wage to a server. This is more money for the server, and restaurant employers have always had to pay at least the minimum wage.

Employers will be forced to ensure they aren’t paying for idle hands. They’ll have to invest in better management of their restaurants, and that might lead to improved productivity. Best-case scenario? Managers end up earning more too because the restaurant is better run.

But I somehow get the feeling that other language in the bill, asserting that all tips from service earned are the sole property of the servers, might be bugging some of these managers. After all, tip skimming and pooling will be that much harder to get away with.

Matt Hopkins


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