Montgomery County Council to hold public hearing on tipped wages

Julia Eisen – WMAL News | October 16, 2023

On Tuesday, tipped workers in Montgomery County are schedule to meet with councilmembers to discuss the future of minimum wage for restaurant workers.

Bill 35-23 would increase the tipped worker minimum wage and would phase in something known as a “tip credit amount.”

Currently Montgomery County tipped workers make a sub-minimum wage of about $4 an hour, according to Councilmember Kristin Mink. However, the president of the Maryland Restaurant Association, Marshall Weston, says that tipped workers can make up to seven times more than that.

According to a survey of tipped workers in Maryland, “76 percent of tipped employees are saying they earn more than 20 dollars an hour, while 40 percent say they are earning more than 40 dollars an hour,” Weston said at a restaurant worker rally.

Councilmember Kristin Mink told 7News that this bill has one goal, “To raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to ensure that we have one standard, fair wage for everyone.”

The current minimum wage in Montgomery County varies by size of the company but it is around $15/hour. Weston says that if restaurant workers make a standard minimum wage then there will be a domino effect on costs at the restaurant.

“If the tip credit were eliminated, restaurants would be forced to raise menu prices, likely eliminate tipped employees and add a service charge to every check,” Weston said at the rally.

However, Councilmember Mink says that seven other states already have eliminated the sub-minimum wage and there are still competitive industries.

The hearing is at 1:30pm on October 17. The Committee work session is scheduled for January 2024.

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