RI lawmaker proposes bill to increase tipped worker wages

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Island lawmaker is trying to increase the amount of money paid to tipped workers.

Providence Rep. Moira Walsh, a former waitress, is proposing a bill that would increase the minimum wage for tipped workers. It would be the first increase for tipped workers in nearly 20 years.

The bill proposes increasing the minimum wage by 50 cents per year until it reaches a level that is at least two-thirds of the standard minimum wage.

Representative Walsh said in a statement Thursday she believes the bill provides security for both employees and employers because it would set out a predictable series of annual increases to bring the rate into the two-thirds proportion, where it would become linked to the standard minimum wage.

The current minimum wage for tipped employees in Rhode Island is $3.89, while the standard minimum wage is $9.60 per hour.

But Representative Walsh added if the lower minimum wage for tipped employees was eliminated completely, there’s a worry employers would start demanding servers hand over their tips.