Lawmakers considering minimum wage hike that will affect tipping

Published: Jan. 18, 2016 at 5:50 PM EST
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Virginia lawmakers are considering several bills that could add more to your paycheck, but it could also mean some serious changes for some businesses.

Senate Bill No. 88 proposes a raise in the minimum wage until 2018, but also sets some guidelines for employees that take tips, like waiters.

Virginia's minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. If made law, Senate Bill No.88 would bring it up to $8 by July 2016, $9 by 2017 and then $10.10 by 2018. For employees who receive tips, their bosses will have to pay them half of that wage before tips.

Right now, wait staff who are tipped make an hourly rate of $2.13, but if they don't make that $7.25 minimum wage, the restaurant has to pay them the difference.

"People are going to be paying higher bills for their food, said Donna Finnigan, the owner of Finnigan's Cove. "Unfortunately those waiters and waitresses are probably going to get less tips."

Finnigan also said that the tip system provides an incentive for people to work harder.

"So now you're just putting the wage up and some of those people are like, 'I can live with that difference in wage and not have to work as hard.' So you're going to see a difference in service," continued Finnigan.

The bill also said that the employer may pay employees the federal minimum wage, but according to the US Department of Labor, if an employee is subject to both state and federal wage laws, they get the one with the best benefits.

As of January 18, the bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor.