New York Tipped Employees Prefer the Current Tipping System to Flat Wage Alternatives

New York’s legislature adjourned last week, meaning two bills aiming to eliminate the state’s tip credit have an uncertain future until the session reopens in January.

Anti-tip credit activists are now urging candidates to make tip credit elimination part of their campaigns ahead of the November election. But here’s a tip for candidates and lawmakers: look to the tipped employees you represent on how best to handle New York’s tip credit.

A new survey found 88% actually prefer the current base wage plus tips system over a higher hourly wage alternative due to the latter’s detrimental effect on tips.

The New York State Restaurant Association and New York City Hospitality Alliance released data from the survey indicating the state’s tipped servers and bartenders make far more than the state’s prevailing minimum wage through tips, and don’t want to see the system change. New York currently requires tipped employees earn $10 per hour ($10.65 per hour in NYC, Westchester, and Long Island) as long as tips put them above the $15 regular minimum wage rate ($16 per hour in NYC, Westchester, and Long Island).

According to the survey, nearly three out of four tipped employees are currently earning $25 per hour through their tips. As a result, they fear changing this system could hurt tip income.

More results of the survey showed:

  • 88% say they prefer the current base wage plus tips system over a higher hourly wage with less certainty about receiving tips;
  • 86% said they believe they would earn less if the tip credit was eliminated;
  • 77% believe customers will not tip on top of any potential surcharges added to customer checks;
  • 68% believe their restaurants will reduce hours for employees; and
  • 62% believe restaurants will downsize staff.

Read recent coverage in Politico and the full survey report here.