Tipped Wages Rising for Montco Servers, Affecting Hourly Pay in PA

jar with sign
Image via Tom Watson at Creative Commons.
The shifting ratio of tips to wages in Pa. is yielding little improvement in servers' overall wages.

Pennsylvania restaurant workers are dissatisfied with a recent change to their pay, which enables employers to pay them less per hour, based on the tipped wages they also receive. Emily Rizzo served up an explanation for WHYY.

Currently, Pennsylvania employers can pay tipped workers as little as $2.83 an hour — significantly under the state’s minimum wage of $7.25 — if they make at least $30 a month in tips.

That $30 floor will increase to $135 in coming months.

The state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission has unanimously voted to increase it, as proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration.

Despite the significant increase, the rise will have little impact on a server who makes $2.83 an hour and works 20 days a month. He or she will still earn only about $25 a day in tips and wages, before taxes.

Servers statewide had hoped for better.

Palmer Marinelli, of the labor advocacy group Pennsylvania Food Workers, referred to the change as “a totally meaningless adjustment that is pretty insulting.”

“We know they’re doing it because it’s all that they can do,” he said. “But at the same time, it would probably just behoove all of us to … spend our time only working toward sustainable outcomes.”

Read more about this oncoming change to tipped wages in Pennsylvania at WHYY.