HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii Workers Center will be holding a community town hall meeting in an effort to end the tip penalty on workers. The meeting will take place on March 8 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Towers of Kuhio Park.
The event is also set to be live-streamed on Instagram, to discuss the impact of the tip penalty on workers and to eliminate it in Hawaii.
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The Hawaii Workers Center said tipped workers, elected officials, and community advocates including UNITE HERE Local 5, Academic Labor United and the COFA Workers Association are invited to speak. The community organization believes all workers are entitled to the full minimum wage and therefore, will be organizing workers toward eliminating the tip penalty.
The Hawaii Workers Center added that although the minimum wage increase last year was something to be celebrated, more work needs to be done for tipped employees.
The organization said that as of now, employers are allowed to deduct $1 from the minimum wage if the combined amount the employee receives from the employer and in tips is at least $7 more than the applicable minimum wage of $12.
For a full-time tipped worker, the accumulation of the $1 deduction amounts to over $2,000 a year in lost income, income that is then returned back to the employer.
The Hawaii Workers Center said that with Hawaii’s high cost of living, the money lost could instead be used to help workers pay for rent, groceries or even child care.
Hawaii Rep. Jeanné Kapela and State Sen. Kurt Fevella, both introduced measures this year on eliminating the tip penalty.
The Hawaii Workers Center said will continue its efforts with its partners, until Hawaii joins the eight other states that pay full minimum wage plus tips.
According to the organization, states who have eliminated the tip penalty have higher restaurant job growth rates, small business growth rates and tipping averages compared to states that offer a sub-minimum wage. These states also have half the rate of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry.
Hawaii Workers Center Board President Sam Domingo said, “It’s time we treat Hawaii’s workers with the respect and dignity we all deserve. Let’s stop penalizing tipped workers and finally eliminate the tip penalty.”
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