1. The real minimum wage in the U.S. is $2.13 an hour.
The regular hourly minimum wage is a paltry $7.25 an hour. If you earn tips, your only hourly guarantee is $2.13.
2. It’s been $2.13 since 1991. That’s pretty much before the internet was a thing.
At the behest of the National Restaurant Association, he brokered a deal with Congress, allowing the regular minimum wage to increase so long as the tipped minimum wage stayed put at $2.13 an hour … forever.
In the restaurant industry, five million workers are women. Two million of them have children, one million have kids under the age of 18.
That’s more than five times the rate for the general female workforce.
And the two absolute lowest paying jobs. Yum! (Source: Department of Labor.)
They’re also three times as likely to fall below the poverty line.
11. And most servers are employed by corporate chains like Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and Applebee’s.
Although some servers make great money, most don’t. A server’s median pay is just $8.00 an hour (including tips).
Yes, but most don’t. In fact, enforcement is so weak and disorganized that an average employer has just a 0.001 percent chance of being investigated in a given year. And most restaurant workers don’t make enough to money to afford taking their employers to court. (Source: Economic Policy Institute)
14. Tips aren’t something “extra,” they’re the majority of a server’s wage.
Living off tips means you’re quite literally living shift-to-shift. Your wages can fluctuate based on a customer’s “belief” in tipping, your physical appearance or that day’s snow storm.
15. The corporate restaurant industry pretty much figured out how to avoid paying wages altogether.
The biggest chains (like Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Applebee’s) actually operate at an expense to the consumer (a la WalMart) because their employees depend on public subsidies to make ends meet.
They’re joining the Living off Tips campaign to demand Congress take action and raise the tipped minimum wage. It’s time for one Fair Wage!
For more information, see ROC’s reports: Tipped Over the Edge – Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry and Realizing the Dream – How the Minimum Wage Impacts Racial Equity in the Restaurant Industry and In America.
This post originally appeared on Buzzfeed.