Raising Wages to Reopen

New York State Restaurants Raising Wages to Save Their Businesses After COVID-19

The New York State restaurant industry has been ravaged by the pandemic and the Great Resignation. Nearly 40 percent of food and accommodation establishments were closed temporarily or permanently at the peak of the pandemic. While this was happening, restaurant workers reported decreased tips and increased health risks, customer hostility, and sexual harassment. As a result of these unlivable working conditions, nearly one million workers have left the restaurant industry. One Fair Wage has documented over 3,600 restaurants nationwide that are paying a full minimum wage with tips on top and identified over 500 such establishments in New York State. This report investigates the reasons why restaurant owners are taking charge and raising wages to bring back workers and explains how this is the ideal moment for New York to pass One Fair Wage legislation to eliminate the subminimum wage and level the playing field for all workers.


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