Many people budget out their money to pay bills and provide themselves what they need weekly and monthly. Working individuals are able to figure out what they will take home at the end of the week, but tipped workers cannot.

Individuals in the service industry receive a very low hourly pay because they also receive tips. People who are working in the service industry should be paid the minimum hourly wage.

According to US News, “The 4.3 million American workers who receive tips – mostly servers and bartenders – are excluded from federal minimum wage of $7.25, and instead earn as little as $2.13 an hour. This so-called “tipped minimum wage” has been frozen at $2.13 since 1991.”

PBS reported, “More than four million American workers rely on tips to make a living, and more than 60 [percent] of them are employed in the foodservice industry usually as servers or bartenders.”

Living on minimum wage is difficult for a young adult, nevermind adults who have families to support and are only being paid the small amount of $2.13 an hour.

US News reported that more than 25 percent of people working in the restaurant industry are raising children and almost 90 percent are over the age of 20. Servers work extremely hard, usually for long hours, and are constantly on their feet to not always earn the pay they deserve.

How well servers do in a night depends on various factors, such as how many tables are in their section, how efficiently the kitchen is putting out food and the overall generosity of the customers at their tables. The instability becomes difficult because some nights you will walk out the door with a couple hundred dollars and others you won’t even make twenty.

The Business Insider said when tipping a server you should leave, “15 [percent] for adequate service [and] 20 [percent] for exceptional service. For poor service, leave 10 [percent] or less. It’s okay to leave nothing for exceptionally poor service, but only if you’re sure it’s the waiter’s fault.”

Not every customer is going to know everything isn’t the server’s fault, resulting in assuming it was their fault, therefore leaving a poor tip. Taking responsibility when you personally mess up is the right thing to do, but you weren’t the one behind the line who made their steak well-done.

Also, by making such a small wage, servers struggle when there is an economic downturn. They aren’t able to go to work and know they’ll make a certain amount of money after a certain amount of hours, no matter what.

According to Raise the Minimum Wage, “Financially squeezed consumers often have no choice but to leave smaller tips. A higher tipped minimum wage would help cushion the impact of these fluctuations and ensure a guaranteed basic income for tipped workers.”

Since the hourly pay for servers is so low, if you can’t afford to tip then you shouldn’t be going out to eat in the first place.

PBS said, “When tips aren’t enough to make minimum wages, employers are supposed to make up the difference. But according to the Department of Labor, there were at least 1,500 cases of tip credit violations in the past three years.” While workers in the service industry are supposed to be making the minimum wage somehow and someway, they most likely are not.

The next time you go out to eat and receive good service, reward your server by tipping them well; remember that their hourly pay is what your coffee most likely cost you that morning.

Emma Hamilton can be contacted at

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