This week on Cobblestone Press, Kevin Aherne was joined by first-term State Representative, Aaron Regunberg about his introduced legislation to raise Rhode Island’s subminimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in nearly 20 years.
The legislation would gradually raise the state’s tipped minimum wage from its current rate of $2.89 per hour until it is in line with Rhode Island’s regular minimum wage by the year 2020. While the base rate of hourly pay would increase, wait staff would still receive tips, as they do in the seven other states that do not have a separate subminimum wage. The bill was introduced with 42 co-sponsors in the House and 21 in the Senate.
“It’s far past time for Rhode Island to take up this issue,” said Representative Regunberg (D-Dist. 4, Providence). “Our state’s two-tiered wage system has left a critical sector of our workforce behind. Rhode Island has the lowest tipped minimum wage in all of New England, and our state’s tipped workers are twice as likely to live in poverty as our non-tipped workers. The last time we raised the tipped subminimum wage, the minimum wage was $4.45 an hour. It’s time for a change.”
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