MARYLAND: Wage and tips for restaurant workers

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Montgomery County Council Member Will Jawando announced Tuesday that he will push for legislative bill 35-23, which would require restaurants to not only pay their workers the full minimum wage, but also include what they receive in tips.
“That's fair to those employees who work hard without receiving proper compensation,” he said at a news conference.

He explained that the aforementioned bill will gradually eliminate “the sub-minimum wage” that is paid in the county, “and that currently does not reflect the value and dignity of our restaurant workers.”

Additionally, he said the legislation he is sponsoring addresses the challenges Montgomery County businesses may face in retaining staff, as neighboring Washington, D.C., has begun phasing out the subminimum wage for service workers through the passage of Initiative 82, which DC voters approved by a majority of nearly 74 percent.

At the national level

Simultaneously, another project presented on Capitol Hill in Washington plans to benefit millions of restaurant workers in the country, who would have access to a better salary and health insurance programs.

The proposal, promoted by Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), is known as the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights, which would benefit some 12.5 million restaurant employees nationwide.

“No one should have to worry about paying rent at the end of the month because they rely on constant tips and lack paid sick leave,” Tlaib told reporters. “No worker should be exploited, subjected to retaliation or denied benefits, especially for organizing to obtain better working conditions and a better quality of life,” he stated.

The project was developed together with the organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, which has been seeking better working conditions for restaurant workers for 20 years.

“As an essential part of our economy, it is time that restaurant workers, who are overwhelmingly women, immigrants and people of color, receive the parity, support and backing they deserve to thrive,” said Congresswoman Delia Ramirez, of Illinois, who supports the initiative.

The project is important for the Hispanic population, since, according to the National Restaurant Association, 25 percent of restaurant employees are from that social group.

I would also have a positive impact on immigrants, since at least two million workers in the sector have this condition, indicates a report from the New American Economy.

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