Business: Living on Minimum Wage

Tiffany Kirk, the mother of a 3-year-old daughter, struggles to make ends meet from $2.13 an hour and fluctuating bartending tips. 3.3 million workers earn the federal minimum wage for tipped workers, and it is difficult for these people to support themselves when living costs are rising. Employers are required to make up the difference if workers do not earn at least $7.25 an hour from tips, but not all employers are paying the differential. Legislation is not helping the situation; the governor of Maryland signed a bill that will gradually raise the minimum wage but excluded tipped restaurant workers. Taco Bell, KFC, and Olive Garden are among the many restaurant companies that have supported similar legislation, effectively freezing the minimum wage. According to the White House, those in “predominantly tipped occupations are twice as likely as other workers to experience poverty.”

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