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Hotel Employees Rejoice: Minimum Job Wage Raises in 8 States


Effective Jan 1, 2012, many hotel employees across the US should see an increase in their hourly job wages. Due to state laws requiring employers adjust the minimum wage paid to their employees in accordance with inflation and living costs, hotel staff earning a minimum wage in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington will benefit from a rise in their hourly pay rate.

The current Federal minimum wage was set in 2009, at $7.25. President, Barack Obama is pushing for a Federal minimum wage of $9.50. Until then, hotel and hospitality workers, and job seekers searching hotel jobs in the above eight mentioned states will enjoy a minimum wage set above the national standard.

The increase in minimum wage should directly affect nearly 1 million workers in and outside the hotel industry, providing a pay increase of .28 to .37 cents an hour. This increase may not seem much to a hospitality job seeker searching entry level employment for hotel positions like housekeeper jobshotel maintenance jobs, or hotel front desk jobs, but at the end of the year this pay increase will amount to an extra $582 to $770 income for a full time hospitality employee.

Workers employed in minimum wage jobs aren’t only ones to benefit from the new pay increase. As employers restructure their pay scale, some 400,000 additional workers earning over minimum wage are expected to see pay increases as well.

Hotel staff in Washington, Oregon and Vermont will enjoy the highest minimum hourly wages in the country, at $9.04, $8.80, $8.46 respectively. To view the minimum wage for your state, visit the Department of Labor for a full list of the minimum wages set for each state.

Minimum Wage for Tipped Hospitality Jobs

Many job seekers are drawn to hotel and hospitality careers because of the numerous jobs where an employee can earn tips. Wages for hotel and hospitality professionals working in positions like restaurant server jobsbellperson jobs and guest service jobs often earn incomes that exceed what an employee would make in similar non-tipped jobs. Because of this, the Federal US government allows hotel, hospitality and service industry employers to pay their tip earning staff an hourly rate below the regular minimum wage.

In 1991 a Federal minimum wage was set for hospitality workers who work for tips at $2.13 an hour.

Both hotel workers and hotel employers should know though, that if the employee’s tips combined with the employee’s regular hourly wage do not equal or exceed the minimum wage, the employer is responsible to make up the difference.

As with regular minimum pay rates, states have the right to set their own minimum wage for tipped employees. This year, hotel staff in all these eight states who earn tips as part of their regular income should also see an extra boost in their hourly pay rate.

In Arizona, tipped employees cannot be paid $3 per hour less than a regular minimum wage employee, setting their hourly wage to $4.65. Hotel and hospitality employees earning tips in Ohio, Vermont and Colorado will see an hourly wage increase of .15 to .28 cents an hour. In Montana, Oregon and Washington the minimum wage for tipped employees is the same as a regular worker, so their new wages will be set between $7.65 and $9.04.

Florida is the one exception to the eight states increasing the minimum wage for tipped employees in 2012. But hotel staff working restaurant server, bellperson, and guest service jobs needn’t worry much. They’ll still see an increase in their hourly wages over last year’s. They got their pay bump early, an increase to $4.65 an hour last June.

You can view a list of all state minimum wages for tipped employees, prepared by the Department of Labor.

Highest Minimum Wage Jobs in the Country

Hotel workers in Washington may enjoy the highest state set minimum wage in the country, but US cities have the right to set their own wage minimums.

If you’re a hotel employee in San Francisco, California, you may be benefiting from the highest minimum wage in the United States. Effective 1/1/2012 workers in San Francisco receive a minimum wage increase of .32 cents, setting them at the highest minimum wage in the country, $10.24 an hour.

Federal, State and local laws do not always agree. Whenever there is a difference between laws regarding how much the minimum wage should be, the employee is entitled to whichever pay rate is the highest. If you have questions about the wages you are entitled or are concerned you are not being paid the legal amount, visit the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor.

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1 Comment

  1. Marc says:

    This is pretty significant since the housekeeping staff is typically some of the hardest working employees in the organization. This minimum wage increase will also create an increase in the quality of services provided since it will open the door for more qualified individuals looking to work in the hospitality industry. Furthermore, I can see this being advantageous if this continues throughout most industries.


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