LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - More questions are coming into the THV11 newsroom as minimum wage is set to increase at the start of the year. One viewer wants to know what this means for tipped employees, like waiters and bartenders, and if they too can expect to see a raise.
“I don't have any kids, it's just me, and I still have to have two jobs just to support myself," Shawn Goodwyn said.
He said that the state's minimum wage increase over the next three years is a start, but not enough. He's a part of “Fight for 15,” a global movement that fights for a minimum wage of $15 an hour and a union.
"We have to spend more money than we can make at these jobs, and that's not livable," Goodwyn said.
In Arkansas, tipped employees must be paid $2.63 an hour. But Goodwyn feels tipped employees have an even tougher time making ends meet.
Employers can get up to a $5.87 credit on the wages they pay to tipped employees. The tips and wages have to equal the current minimum wage. But now that the state has raised the minimum wage, servers are curious to know if they'll see that increase as well.
So, we spoke to Rosalyn Miller with the Arkansas Department of Labor.
“Tipped employees will still receive that $2.63 per hour however the tips must be sufficient to raise them to that minimum wage," she said.
Starting in January 2019, the minimum wage wiill increase to $9.25 cents and eventually $11 by 2021. So, tipped workers will notice the raise as well. But there is concern that not all employers will comply with the rules.
“What they're putting on paper and what they're actually are doing is two different things," Miller said.
If tipped workers believe they aren't being paid minimum wage, Miller said to make a complaint by phone, online or they can even mail you a form to make a claim.
“We do have an investigator that will investigate and if there is a valid complaint there are steps that we do take to resolve any issues," she said.
The Arkansas minimum wage does exempt some employers from the new minimum wage requirement. For more information, click here.