ND Legislature Proposes To Raise Tipped Wages

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A new bill could have the wait staff at restaurants in North Dakota making a set wage with tips as a bonus. It says over a 4-year-period, those wages would increase by a dollar every 2 years until it reaches $7.25 an hour. Valley News Live talks with staff at one local eatery, who says it could make your next date night cost a little more.

In the food service industry, many servers depend on their tips for income. A business, Valley News Live spoke with said they have no problem paying their employees a little more as long you're willing to pay the price.

"This is maybe unfortunate to the consumer but if I have to pay more for my inputs, my labor, my food, then it just get reflective on what I would have charge in order to make money as a business owner," said Co-owner of Rhombus guys, Matt Winjum.

Winjum says he is not against the wage increase. But if it happens, he does have options to look at.

"Either you can produce more, or charge more for your food, have fewer workers, or sell more product, so I would go about it strategically," said Winjum.

Rhombus Guys server, Jace Aikens says the extra few dollars would be nice.

"A wage is just a small part of my income but I make most of my money on tips. A paycheck is nice to have every couple weeks and honestly it wouldn't make a huge difference," said Jace Aikens.

Aikens say he could see the wage hike impacting people's willingness to leave tips, if they are making a higher minimum wage.

"Maybe the culture would change a little bit and how people feel about tipping," said Aikens.

The bill proposed was seen in house committee Wednesday and its author Josh Boschee says it will likely not pass. The bill was split down the party lines in committee with 10 republicans against and 4 democrats for it. He was glad that the bill started a conversation. The last time servers in North Dakota saw an increase of their wage was back in 2009.