The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Proposed act would eliminate subminimum wage for tipped workers in Illinois

Illinois lawmakers introduced the One Fair Wage act, which aims to eliminate subminimum wage pay for tipped workers, on Tuesday. The bill would be similar to the One Fair Wage ordinance that passed in Chicago in 2023, which will incrementally raise the minimum wage of tipped workers to that equal of nontipped workers by July 1, 2025. 

In 2022, lawmakers previously tried to pass a bill statewide erasing subminimum wage; however, it did not succeed. 

Under federal law, employers are required to make up the difference if subminimum wage workers are not tipped up to the equivalent of minimum wage. However, this applies to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, far below Illinois’ $14.

“(Restaurants) don’t really seem to try and compensate the worker for their underpaid tips,” said Addison McMillan, senior in LAS, who makes subminimum wage as a bartender. 

Though McMillan says he rarely makes below $14 an hour with tips, he says that’s not necessarily the case for his coworkers in other positions.

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    “Definitely there are many times where it’s a very lousy night but, like, a very slow night and they don’t get any money, and they’re just left with that as it is and not compensated really any further,” McMillan said.

    Even for McMillan, who usually reaches the $14 threshold, there are still effects of only being guaranteed subminimum pay.

    The subminimum wage in Illinois is 60% of the minimum wage, currently putting it at $8.40 per hour.

    “It definitely makes it harder to plan ahead because you can’t really make it concrete how much you’re gonna make or how much you need to set aside or whatnot because it’s very dependent on the business you’re getting,” McMillan said.

    The Chicago One Fair Wage ordinance states that “13 percent of tipped workers are in poverty, compared with approximately 6 percent of non-tipped employees.”

    “Maybe one concern I might have about (One Fair Wage)  is for smaller businesses or like mom and pop shops or things like that where they might be already struggling to make ends meet,” McMillan said. 

    However, when it came to larger businesses, McMillan was more in favor of the act.

    “I think it’s definitely a good idea because (large restaurants) have way too much money that they can afford to lose a little bit more in this regard to keep their employees happier, keep their lives more stress-free and overall loyalty and things like that to the business that they’re in,” McMillan said.

     

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