Rep. Niemerg Fights for “Tip Wage” Workers

Service industry and restaurant workers speak to the press at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 about the negative impact of proposed legislation (HB 5345).

Growing Opposition Will Save Service Industry Jobs

State Representative Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich), a member of the Labor & Commerce Committee, voted no on House Bill 5345 that would eliminate the tip credit in Illinois for employees of the service industry. Workers and the public are encouraged to contact their state representatives and senators to voice their opposition now.

Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich), member of the Labor & Commerce Committee, questions the proponents of a bill about the impact of eliminating tip credit in Illinois.

“This proposal is so bad for service industry workers that the Democrats on the committee had to be substituted out so they wouldn’t be on record voting for a bill that hurts their own constituents,” explained Rep. Niemerg. “The opposition vote was bipartisan in the Labor Committee and with growing opposition, I am hopeful we can stop this bad bill, save restaurant jobs and keep the costs from rising even more on consumers.”

Here are the facts provided by the Illinois Restaurant Association: 

  • The median tipped employee in Illinois makes more than $28/hr. compared to the state minimum wage of $14/hr.  
  • Current law already requires tipped employees to earn at least the minimum wage and if for any reason they don’t, the restaurant owner must make up the difference for every hour worked. No employee can make under the state’s minimum wage – it’s the law. [820 ILCS 105/4(c)]
  • Operators will experience increased labor costs which in other markets have resulted in raising menu prices, decreasing staff hours, or eliminating positions, and even closing their doors.  
  • Six out of the seven states that have already eliminated the tip credit have some of the lowest tip percentages in the country, with California and Washington at the bottom of the list.  
  • Customers will experience increased costs dining out and services charges will become the norm.   

Ultimately, the proposed legislation will change longstanding rules for how servers and bartenders in Illinois are paid, putting at risk employee earning potential and significantly raising costs for restaurant owners.