The otherwise balanced and informative March 29 front-page article “Many disputes over a few dollars” was marred by a seemingly small but very significant bit of misinformation. The article stated that tipped workers’ “minimum wage is lower than for employees who don’t get tips,” but tipped workers are guaranteed, by law, the same minimum wage as every other worker covered by minimum-wage requirements. The difference is the source of those wages.
Under the best of scenarios, the tipped worker would receive a combination of wages from the employer and tips from patrons that meet or exceed the minimum wage. However, if the tips, when combined with the employer contribution ( which is $3.63 in Maryland, $2.77 in the District and $2.13 in Virginia), do not meet the minimum wage, the employer is required to pay the tipped worker more so that he or she receives at least the minimum wage.
Increasing the employer contribution, which thankfully Maryland rejected, would serve only to further burden narrow-margin small businesses with an unnecessary increase in wages beyond the increase in the overall minimum wage.