Last week Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md) introduced legislation that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to establish a base minimum wage for tipped employees. The Working for Adequate Gains for Employment in Services Act or “WAGES Act” (H.R. 2570) – which has 20 co-sponsors – would take effect 90 days after the bill’s enactment, mandating that tipped employees be paid at least $3.75 per hour. This amount would increase to $5.00 per hour beginning July 1, 2011. The following year, this base amount would increase to 70 percent of the minimum wage as established under section 6(a)(1) of the FLSA, or $5.50 per hour, whichever amount is greater.
If enacted, this bill would have significant impact on the service industry. Under the terms of this legislation, the Secretary of Labor would be required to publish any increase in the base amount for tipped employees at least 10 days in advance of any change.
The WAGES Act has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.