In the food service and hospitality industries, employees rely heavily on tips because of income that is typically less than minimum wage. Maine and the city of Flagstaff, Arizona, are both working toward increasing the wages of tipped employees since passing ballot initiatives last Tuesday.
Question No. 4 on Maine’s ballot called for an increase in Maine’s minimum wage; this measure passed with around 55 percent of the vote. This means that the current minimum wage of $7.50 an hour will increase to $9 in 2017, and then by $1 each year until it hits $12 in 2020, according the Portland Press Herald. The minimum wage for tipped workers, which is currently set for half the regular minimum, will also gradually increase until it reaches $12 in 2024.
In Arizona, the state approved a ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage but to keep the tipped wage at $3 per hour below the standard minimum; however, the city of Flagstaff had a ballot initiative, Proposition 414, to set the local minimum wage at $10 per hour and eventually raise it to $15 per hour by 2021, according to the Consumerist. This measure passed with about 54 percent of the vote. Flagstaff minimum wages will increase based on costs of living and will be $2 per hour more than the state minimum level. The city plans to gradually raise the tipped minimum wage to be equal to the standard minimum by 2026.