Restaurants want to amend Arizona Constitution to pay servers less than minimum wage

Restaurants want to amend Arizona Constitution to pay servers less than minimum wage

A Republican measure that would ask voters to let businesses pay employees who work for tips 25% less than the minimum wage advanced on Tuesday.

The legislation would amend the Arizona Constitution to include language that would allow business owners to cut the pay of their tipped employees.

The strike-everything amendment to Senate Concurrent Resolution 1040 passed out of the House Commerce Committee along party lines. Those who spoke in favor of the measure said it is in direct response to a ballot initiative currently gathering signatures that would increase the minimum wage for all workers to $18 an hour.

Under current Arizona law, businesses can pay tipped workers $3 less than the current minimum wage. If the proposed constitutional amendment were in place today, businesses could pay workers $3.58 less than the current minimum wage of $14.35.

The legislation, known as the “Tipped Workers Protection Act,” is backed by restaurant owners and other business groups. Proponents, including restaurant industry lobbyists and some servers, told the committee that the measure would ensure tipped workers remain employed and can continue making tips.          

The initiative that is trying to qualify for the ballot, known as Raise the Wage AZ, does not remove tipping.

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