Tennessee Lawmaker Proposes Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees


In Tennessee, tipped employees make a so-called “server’s wage” of $2.13 per hour. Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) wants to change this. With her sponsored bill, SB 1951 Akbari argues that tipped employees should receive the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) in addition to any tips they receive.

What SB 1951 Would Do

The bill would revise state law that lets employers use tips as part of their $7.25 an hour minimum wage requirement and help prevent employers from taking advantage of tipped employees. Further, SB 1951 would not allow any employer to “retain tips received by the employer's tipped employees for any purpose.”

When introducing her sponsored bill, Senator Akbari explained:

The minimum wage for tipped workers in Tennessee is $2.13 an hour and it hasn’t changed since 1996…Tipped workers already have unpredictable pay and schedules. The least we can do is abolish the sub-minimum wage in Tennessee and provide some financial predictability to the thousands of hard-working people in the service industry.”

What’s the Status of SB 1951?

The bill was introduced on Friday, January 26, and passed first consideration on January 27. In early February, the bill went on to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

If the bill makes it through Tennessee legislation, the new law will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Minimum Wage Act seeks to raise the minimum wage in Tennessee to $15 per hour.

Have You Been Shorted Minimum Wage?

All employees within the United States are entitled to $7.25 per hour. Whether you are a tipped employee or not, you should speak to an attorney if you have not been paid at least $7.25 an hour.

At Donati Law, PLLC, we have more than 35 years of experience handling wage and hour violations. We can help you recover lost wages and make sure your employer faces justice.

If you need help with an employment law concern, please fill out our questionnaire.

You can also call us at (901) 209-5500 or contact us online with any questions or concerns you may have.

We look forward to helping you recover and fighting for justice on your behalf — improving your life and our community is our mission at Donati Law, PLLC.

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