HONOLULU (KHON2) — There’s a new proposal in the Hawaii State Senate that would take some wages away from workers who make tips.

Those who support the idea said it can help businesses and make restaurants less expensive, while opponents said it unfairly targets workers.

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It’s called a tip credit. Service workers who make tips also make an hourly wage, but a tip credit can be taken from that wage.

The new bill is looking at increasing the tip credit to keep up with increases in the minimum wage.

According to the US Department of Labor:

“Tip Credit in Hawaii is permissible if the combined amount the employee receives from the employer and in tips is at least $7.00 more than the applicable minimum wage.”

The minimum wage in Hawaii is $12, and the tip credit is $1.

“So instead of the $1 that has been on the books for years, the restaurant owner will be able to deduct a minimum wage earners pay by $2.40. And you know, this thing goes up to $18 an hour by 2028. So at that time, that 20% will be $3.60,” said Senator Glenn Wakai (D) Kalihi, Mapunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake.

Tom Jones, the owner of Gyotaku, said it would allow him to pay employees who don’t get tips more money.

“They’re not necessarily the people that minimum wage is intended for, but the reality is that when minimum wage goes up without a significant tip credit they’re the first ones to get a pay increase That puts restauranteurs at a disadvantage to give a raise to other people who are above minimum wage but not that much more,” Jones said.

He added that another benefit is the possibility of making his menu less expensive.

“A typical restaurant, probably 25-30 percent of the hourly staff are servers, so when that much money is being directed to that group of people the restauranteurs are faced with either taking it on the chin which now is almost impossible to do, or increasing their menu prices,” Jones added.

But working for tips has the possibility of being very unstable.

“People that work for tips, that that’s not guaranteed wages tips are extremely subjective,” UNITE HERE Local 5 board member and Waikiki bartender Jason Mitchell said.

That instability can be through income, hours and benefits.

“People have to deal with medical issues, medical insurance issues when you’re in a non-union property, they can cut your hours to 20 hours and send you home early if it’s slow and this sort of thing. These workers are the most vulnerable workers in our state, and it’s a terrible idea,” Mitchell said.

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Senator Wakai plans to introduce the bill next week.