New York is one of 42 states where tipped workers receive a subminimum wage and are compelled to survive financially primarily on tips. Even as New York phases in a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, under current law the tipped minimum wage will reach only $10 per hour.
The tipped minimum wage leaves many workers struggling to make ends meet. For example, women waiters in New York earn only 45 percent of the national median income—their earnings are even lower compared to New York’s relatively high median income. One out of four women waiters and bartenders fall below 150 percent of the federal poverty line.
Advocates, workers, and policy-makers have called for One Fair Wage: an end to the subminimum wage and a raise for tipped workers to the regular minimum wage. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation creates an opportunity for Governor Kathy Hochul to immediately enact One Fair Wage by Executive Order.
The Gender Equity Policy Institute conducted an analysis of the potential impacts of the policy by gender, race, and ethnicity. The Act received a score of 93%, earning it recognition as a model policy advancing gender equity.