Ending Legacy of Slavery and Addressing Maryland’s Restaurant Staffing Crisis
The subminimum wage for tipped workers is still just $3.63 an hour in the state of Maryland. While the state minimum wage increased to $13.25 on January 1, 2023, the subminimum wage for tipped workers has stayed at an abysmal $3.63 since 2014. A direct legacy of slavery, the subminimum wage affects a state workforce of over 105,000 tipped workers that is 65 percent women and 52 percent people of color.
With the pandemic, tens of thousands of these workers are refusing to work for subminimum wages, and hundreds of Maryland restaurants are raising wages to recruit staff, but many Maryland restaurateurs are finding that these workers will not return without policy guaranteeing a full minimum wage with tips on top. With industry-wide wage increases, there is national momentum for change; in November 2022, 76 percent of Washington, DC voters voted to raise the wage for tipped workers from $5.35 to the full minimum wage of $16.10 per hour. With Maryland’s subminimum wage for tipped workers frozen at $3.63 per hour, Maryland restaurants will face an even greater staffing crisis than they have already faced.
Advancing policy to support these restaurant workers and owners by ending the subminimum wage for tipped workers would positively impact an overall restaurant industry of over 185,000 workers in Maryland.
Leave a Reply