By Kevin Landrigan, New Hampshire Union Leader
CONCORD -- Restaurant industry leaders want the Legislature to move preemptively to prevent tipped employees from getting a windfall pay raise if Congress raises the federal minimum wage.
Coming out of the pandemic, the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association pursued this Senate-passed bill (SB 137), which would take effect only if the Biden administration succeeds in its drive to double the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour.
For decades, the minimum wage paid to tipped workers like servers and bartenders in New Hampshire has been 45% of the federal minimum wage.
Since 2009, that has been $3.27 an hour.
If business is so slow that servers receive little in tips, the restaurant owner has to make up the difference and bring those workers to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
COVID-19 has hit the hospitality industry hard, with many food businesses still only offering takeout or outside dining.
The goal of SB 137 is to ensure that even if Congress raises the minimum wage, the tipped wage here would remain $3.27 an hour.
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