Tipped Wage and Workers
Nearly 12 million people work in the restaurant industry, but just 20% of restaurant jobs provide a "living wage." Of all workers earning below the minimum wage, 65% are restaurant workers. More than 35% of all tipped workers are women of color, and almost two million women restaurant workers are mothers. The tipped wage also contributes to sexual harassment in the workplace, and tipped restaurant workers who make $2.13 per hour experience twice the harassment as restaurant workers who make the full minimum wage.
Question: How, if at all, would you address the economic disparities resulting from the tipped minimum wage (including any type of legislative solutions)?
The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25/hour, and has not been raised since 2009. Women are nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers. Women of color are 23% of minimum wage workers, compared to 16% of all workers. Full‑time, year‑round work at the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour leaves a woman with two children thousands of dollars below the poverty line. These disparities are even greater when looking at families led by women of color: 43% of Black women-led households and 42% of Latina-led households fall below the poverty line. Minimum wage laws exempt many types of work done primarily by women of color, including domestic work, seasonal work, and tipped work.
Question: How, if at all, would you address the economic insecurity faced by women and families in low-wage jobs (including any type of legislative solutions)?
Earned Income Tax Credit
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a benefit for low to moderate income working people that reduces the amount of tax you owe. In 2013, the Earned Income Tax Credit lifted about 6.2 million people out of poverty, and made nearly 22 million other people less poor. Among those who claim the EITC are more than 5 million African American workers. Other communities that are disproportionately lower income, including the LGBTQ community, also benefit significantly from this credit.
Question: What, if anything, would you do to ensure that our tax system helps lift people out of poverty (including any type of legislative solutions)?
Safety net programs provide vital support to many working families. Nearly three-quarters of the people helped by programs geared to the poor are members of a family headed by a worker. Without programs like Medicaid, food stamps, or child care subsidies, working families would not have the necessary support to pay for basic needs.
Question: What, if anything, would you do to ensure that working families have the necessary support to pay for basic needs (including any type of legislative solutions)?