Coffey joins push to protect tipped workers wages

A new law making its way through the Illinois General Assembly aimed at tipped workers would not only have a damaging effect on Illinois restaurants still rebounding from the Pandemic but it would also negatively impact restaurant employees as well. 

Rep. Mike Coffey joined the Illinois Retail Merchants Association at a press conference to express their concerns and opposition to the legislation. 

“As I’ve traveled the district, employees who have excelled at providing service to residents have asked me to stand up and fight against this bill," explained Coffey. "They are concerned their take-home pay will decrease and businesses will close their doors."

Current Illinois law allows employers to pay their tipped workers 60% of the state’s minimum wage. That amounts to $8.40 hourly, compared to the minimum wage of $14 per hour. However, if employee wages plus tips do not equal minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. 

If enacted, House Bill 5345 would mandate all businesses who currently employ tipped workers to compensate them at $15 an hour, beginning in 2025. 

“This legislation would cause turmoil in the service industry, causing job creators to cut good-paying positions and putting these businesses at risk of closure,” Coffey said. “Ultimately, consumers who are already feeling the higher cost of living in this state will have to pay more to offset the higher labor costs.”

House Bill 5345 has so far failed to attract key support, as the witness slips filed on this bill show 564 opponents and just 37 proponents. Nevertheless the legislation passed out of committee on April 4. While the legislation is advancing through the process, strong bipartisan opposition prompted the sponsor to promise not to bring the bill to a vote in the full House without first negotiating amendments to address concerns.