Critics of a proposed state law said we might have to pay more for a night out.
A proposed bill would require service industry employees to pay all of their workers at least minimum wage, even if they receive tips.
There are dozens of restaurants in towns all across Connecticut, and this bill could be a game changer at just about all of them.
It could impact the way servers are paid, how much customers are paying, and even how servers are being paid.
Marina Mozzicato has a little extra cash in her bank accounts because her bosses at Jerry’s Pizza in Middletown pay her around $10 per hour, even though as an employee who receives tips they could legally give her much less.
“Minimum wage nowadays for a waitress really wouldn’t get you anywhere,” she said.
Soon, her rate could become much more normal for others across the state.
The bill would require employers to pay all of their employees at least $9.60 per hour, even if they receive tips.
Many restaurant owners said the plan could be a disaster.
Tim Adams, who owns J. Timothy’s Taverne in Plainville, said the bill would dramatically increase costs which owners would have to pass on to customers.
“We're going to see fewer people going out because they have to spend more. You'll see reduced sales, reduced revenue to the state,” Adams said.
He also believes if menu prices go up, people will cut back on tipping, which would hurt servers.
“I think ultimately the whole job category would change, and you'll see fewer people doing those jobs and making less money than they did before,” he said.
At Jerry’s Pizza, owner Carmella Lockwood understands the bill could be tough for some owners to swallow, but she still believes in the end it would actually help most restaurants.
“I think they'll get a lot more repeat business from customers when, you know, you take care of your employees,” Lockwood said.
The bill was discussed at a public hearing in New Haven on Thursday but it is still in committee.
Right now, restaurants have to pay their servers a little more than $6 per hour, and supplement their pay if they do not reach minimum wage after tips.
Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.