Increasing the Minimum Wage for Restaurant Employees: An Overview and Resources

by Lily Zaballos

These past few weeks the House and Senate have been working on a coronavirus relief package that included a proposal, the Raise the Wage Act, to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. This would be the first federal wage increase since 2009, when the federal minimum wage was raised to $7.25 an hour. For tipped restaurant workers, wages can be even lower, just $2.13 an hour in some states. The proposal in the latest COVID-19 stimulus package would have eliminated the tipped subminimum wage, raising the minimum across the board. Plans for the increase are currently stalled in the Senate, but the case for increasing hourly wages continues. Check out these articles on the proposed minimum wage increase and the impact it would have on restaurant workers. 

The tense battle in the Senate over the proposal and what’s next for Democrats championing the proposal:

  • Democrats put up minimum fight on $15-an-hour wage, NBC News
  • Senior Democrats abandon backup plan on $15 minimum wage, Washington Post
  • Opinion: A $15 minimum wage won’t happen. Democrats should get to work on a more modest raise, Washington Post

How a federal wage increase would impact restaurant workers:

  • What Biden’s Minimum-Wage Plan Means for Restaurant Workers, Wall Street Journal
  • $15 minimum wage debate: Why some say ‘flipping burgers’ is the hardest job, Today

The role a wage increase would play in fighting COVID-19:

  • For these tipped workers, $15 minimum wage is a matter of COVID-19 survival, USA Today
  • The Tipped Minimum Wage Didn’t Help Restaurants and Hotels Survive the Pandemic, Says a New Report, Mother Jones

How a minimum wage increase could benefit small businesses:

A minimum wage increase would be especially critical for some populations: 

  • A $15 federal minimum wage would give 19 million women a raise, CNBC 
  • Raising the Minimum Wage Would Be Transformative for Women, Center for American Progress
  • Fewer Americans are earning less than $15 an hour, but Black and Hispanic women make up a bigger share of them, Washington Post

Businesses weigh in on the potential wage increase:

  • Many Businesses Support a Minimum-Wage Increase—Just Not Biden’s $15-an-Hour Plan, Wall Street Journal

Senators propose alternative plans for raising the minimum wage:

  • Lindsey Graham Offers “Waffle House” Plan to Dems Worried About $15 Minimum Wage, Newsweek

The public’s opinion on raising the minimum wage:

  • Most Americans support a $15 minimum wage but are split on how soon it should happen, Business Insider

The case against raising the minimum wage:

What happens when chain restaurants raise wages:

  • What McDonald’s Shows About The Minimum Wage, NPR
  • P. Terry’s Burger Stand raises minimum wage to $15 an hour, Austin Business Journal

The current minimum wage rates across New York State:

In other restaurant news, on tipping during the pandemic:

Want to learn more? Check out these additional resources and organizations fighting to raise the minimum wage:



Related Articles

Subscribe To Weekly NYC Food Policy Watch Newsletter
Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news, reports and event information
No Thanks
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.