MN Restaurant Association offers minimum wage increase solution

By KBJR News 1

MN Restaurant Association offers minimum wage increase solution

February 27, 2014 Updated Feb 28, 2014 at 9:07 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - While the minimum wage debate is heating up in Minnesota this legislative session, one organization is offering up its own proposal.

The Minnesota Restaurant Association is calling for a two-tiered wage increase.

Non-tipped employees would get the new higher Minnesota minimum wage, whatever it turns out to be.

But tipped employees, who earn at least $12 an hour with their claimed tips, would continue to get paid the current federal wage of $7.25 an hour.

If they don't earn that amount, they're guaranteed the new higher minimum wage, plus their tips.

Grandma's President, Brian Daugherty, who supports an increase in the minimum wage, is hoping lawmakers will approve of the Restaurant Association's idea.

"The Minnesota Restaurant Association's two-tier wage proposal is really the best proposal out there right now. It moves everybody forward. The real issue is not about low wages, it's about no wages, and this helps everybody, both business and employees move forward," he said.

Daugherty detailed his stance in the following outline:

I. Grandma’s agrees that there should be an adjustment to the Minnesota minimum wage – but the state should be very thoughtful about it.
II. The restaurant industry does have a thoughtful approach and solution that allows everyone to win.
III. Currently Minnesota is one of seven states that does not recognize tips as income when it comes to wages (even though employees pay taxes on these tips, and employers pay social security, Medicare, and unemployment tax). Tip are recognized as income for every other reason EXCEPT wages.
• Tipped employees in our restaurants already earn well above any proposed minimum wage increase. In fact, a survey by the Minnesota Restaurant Association states that servers and bartenders are already paid $18 an hour or more … and well worth it.
IV. The Minnesota Restaurant Association’s two-tiered wage proposal will allow everyone to move forward.
V. It creates a new minimum wage tier –
• Of course non-tipped employees would get the new higher Minnesota minimum wage.
• Tipped employees, who earn at least $12 an hour with their claimed tips would continue to get paid at the current wage of $7.25 - but if they, for some strange reason, don’t earn $12 an hour during a pay period – we guarantee the new higher minimum wage, plus their tips, of course.
VI. Everyone moves forward!
• The employee is guaranteed at least the minimum wage.
• The business can continue to provide and create jobs.
• The customer won’t suffer large menu increases or a reduction in table service.
VII. It’s a really a brilliant proposal for all and we hope that our legislators will support it.

The Senate bill would raise the minimum wage to $7.75 an hour.

The House bill would raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the issue during this session.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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