New Report: Tipped Workers Need a Full Wage in Seattle

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By Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Women make up a majority of tipped workers in Washington State and the Seattle region
– Women make up 67% of all workers in tipped occupations in Washington State, compared to 46% of the employed population
– Women make up 60% of all tipped workers in Seattle, and 70% of all tipped workers who live in poverty.
– Allowing tips to count towards a wage increase, would effectively exclude tipped workers from many of the benefits of an increase to the minimum wage, and would only make the gender pay gap worse.

Most tipped workers are servers at casual restaurants, who are much more likely to live in poverty than workers overall
– Tipped workers in Seattle are twice as likely to live in poverty compared to the rest of the employed population. 13% of tipped workers in Seattle live in poverty, compared to 6% of all workers.

Washington State Law states that tips cannot be counted as wages
– No other city in the seven states with no subminimum wages has introduced a subminimum wage for tipped workers. In 2014, three additional states and the District of Colombia have legislation and ballot initiatives moving to eliminate their subminimum wage as well; the introduction of a tip credit in Seattle would set a regressive precedent for the nation just as many other states are moving in a progressive direction.

Tip-credit appears to have no impact on restaurant success in other states
– Over the next ten years, restaurant employment is projected to grow by over 10% in Washington State, compared to just 9.1% in states that allow tips to count towards the minimum wage.
– Restaurant sales per capita and employment growth in tipped occupations is higher in states without a tipped minimum wage.