[BU Today] Does “Tipping Fatigue” Justify Paying Minimum Wage to Tipped Workers?

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a November ballot question to phase out the state’s subminimum wage for tipped employees. Photo via Unsplash/Dan Smedley

“Tipping fatigue has hit American consumers hard,” ABC News reported about the backlash to burgeoning gratuity requests for things such as takeout. Two-thirds of Americans have negative views of tipping, according to a 2023 survey.

The Massachusetts legislature has until tomorrow, April 30, to place a tipping-related question on the November ballot; if it doesn’t, advocates can seek signatures petitioning that the measure go before voters. The question asks voters to join the seven states that have phased out the subminimum wage paid to tipped employees—$6.75 an hour in Massachusetts—that currently covers them instead of the general $15 hourly minimum that applies to other Bay State workers. (State law allows tips for any “wait staff employee, service employee, or service bartender.”)

Would paying minimum wage to servers eliminate the need for tipping altogether? It’s more complicated than that, says Sean Jung, BU SHA’s assistant professor of hospitality analytics. Jung added that proposed Massachusetts ballot question phasing out state’s subminimum wage for tipped employees raises concerns

Read more