City Council News

City Council Update July 27, 2018

July 27, 2018

Minimum hourly wage for tipped employees to increase July 1, 2019

(July 25, 2018) The minimum hourly wage in occupations receiving gratuities will increase to the amount equivalent to 70 percent of the non-tipped workers’ hourly wage under an ordinance introduced July 25th by Aldermen Edward M. Burke (14th) and Margaret Laurino (39th).

The Ordinance amends section 1-24-030 of the Municipal Code of Chicago by increasing the hourly rate to the equivalent of seventy (70) percent of the Minimum Hourly Wage listed in Section 1-24-020 for non-tipped employees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 2 million people working as restaurant servers in the United States, about seventy (70) percent of them are women. According to a 2014 joint report by the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley about 13 percent of tipped employees are in poverty, compared with about 6 percent of non-tipped employees.

“The federal minimum wage for regular workers has been $7.25 an hour, while for tipped workers it has remained stagnant for over two decades at $2.13, it is time we give these employees fair living wages,” Alderman Burke said.

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy group, found lower levels of harassment towards workers in states that require equal minimum wages for tipped and non-tipped employees. Similarly, a March 2018 Chicago Tribune article quoted wait staff as believing that raising the minimum wage would ameliorate the restaurant workplace culture which has become conducive to abuse.

“The reliance on tips from customers enables a culture of harassment,” commented Alderman Laurino, “raising the minimum wage is a means of empowering tipped workers.”

The ordinance was sent for consideration to the Committee on Workforce Development and Audit.