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Montgomery County may be next to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers

The new law would be similar to Initiative 82 in D.C., which has led to the widespread use of service charges to offset the costs of pay increases

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — A controversial new way to pay restaurant and bar workers in the District may now be coming to Montgomery County.

Councilmember Will Jawando’s office tells WUSA9 he plans to introduce legislation to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers in Montgomery County. The bill is still being written, but the new law would raise the minimum wage for tipped workers in the county over the next several years.

Traditionally, tipped workers make far less than minimum wage, then make up the difference with tips.

In D.C., an even more aggressive pay hike system than the one Jawando is proposing was passed overwhelmingly by voters. Known as Initiative 82, the law has caused confusion and frustration in the District, with many restaurants charging customer surcharges - some as high as 20% - to offset the cost of the increased wages.

In a statement, The Restaurant Association of Maryland told WUSA9:

“A statewide tip credit repeal bill considered in the Maryland General Assembly failed to pass earlier this year because of strong restaurant industry opposition and scores of servers who urged lawmakers to reject it because they make significantly more money under the current tipping system. The restaurant industry and servers will continue to oppose such poor public policy proposals in Montgomery County and elsewhere in Maryland.”

Jawando, who is also running for a U.S. Senate seat, plans to introduce his bill next month.

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