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Bill aims to raise minimum wage for Baltimore's tipped workers to $15 an hour

Bill aims to raise minimum wage for tipped workers to $15 an hour
Bill aims to raise minimum wage for tipped workers to $15 an hour 02:18

BALTIMORE -- A Baltimore City councilman introduced a bill that would raise the base pay for tipped workers. 

"We are not going away from having workers being able to earn tips," Councilman John Bullock said. "However, what we don't want them to be is wholly dependent upon those tips in order to support their families."

As it reads now, the legislation calls for a gradual increase of the tipped minimum wage over a five-year period, which would start in 2025 at $6 an hour.

The bill states it would then increase $2 an hour each year until 2029. 

Right now, the tipped minimum wage sits at $3.63. However, under state law, an employee's total take-home pay, including tips, must be over $15 an hour with employers making up the difference.

Former waitress, Janaki Olatunji said that still wasn't enough.

"I just couldn't afford to have that job any longer," Olatunji said. 

Immediately after the announcement Monday evening at City Hall, restaurant managers and owners in opposition to the bill would not make statements on the record about how this may impact their operations and instead, wanted to wait to see the outcome of the legislation.

Councilman Bullock said those key players would be a part of the conversation should the legislation move forward.

"There is still a profit margin. We have to look at what it means in terms of operating a business and paying people the worth of their labor," Bullock said. 

The bill heads to the Ways and Means Committee.

If it does not pass this council term, it will need to be re-submitted in the new term, according to Bullock.

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