OPINION: Why I’m Against Tipping (But Still Do it Anyway)

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I have a serious problem with giving tips. It has nothing to do with not wanting to show my gratitude for good customer service, but it is astonishing that so many servers are paid so little that tips actually make up a sizeable portion of their income. Even worse is that in most areas of the country, if you work in a job that receives tips, your employer can pay you less than minimum wage. And the amount that they can get away with paying their employees is sickening when you hear the number.

DOL minimum wage

So the federal minimum wage across the entire United States is $7.25 an hour (and was last raised six years ago when that figure went into effect in July of 2009), and a handful of states and cities have their own higher minimum wages. Whatever the case, it is against federal law to pay people less than $7.25 an hour, and there are a couple exceptions. The first exception is that employees under 20 years old can be paid as low as $4.25 an hour for the first 90 days of employment. The second, and the one that we’re discussing here, is the minimum wage for those who receive tips. The amount? $2.13.

The caveat being that if an employee’s tips plus his or her wage does not end up equating to $7.25 an hour, the employer must pay the difference to catch it back up. Whatever the case, employers are getting cut some serious slack when it comes to paying their employees and they’re telling these people, who’re usually young or in rough financial situations to begin with, that they aren’t worthy of receiving more than $2.13 an hour and that the employers would actually pay less than that if they could get away with it.

What this means across a large majority of the United States is that when you tip someone for doing a good job, you are effectively forcing that person to take an hourly pay cut. If these business owners want to pay their people such small amounts of money (and it’s tiny, a full workday comes out to only $17.04 out of the employer’s pocket), then let’s help them be more generous by us not doling out cash for what someone is already getting paid for, anyway.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that the only places that you should really tip are the purple states in the image shown above since the tip will actually  be used to supplement the person’s income. Since I live in California, I still tip. Otherwise, there’s literally no point in leaving someone a few dollars for a job well done – and that’s no reason to treat those who’re living with poverty-level wages to begin with.

 About The Writer

The writer of this piece is Donald Herrera Fairbairn and you can follow him on his Twitter page @donaldfairbairn or through his Google+ account. He has a few other social media accounts, but, since he’s such a grumpy guy, attempting to talk to him probably isn’t worth the effort.

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