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Governor Dayton will not change minimum wage law for tipped employees -- yet

Punch Pizza raised its minimum wage to $10 per hour last year
Punch Pizza raised its minimum wage to $10 per hour last year

Gov. Mark Dayton does not support changes to Minnesota's minimum wage law, a spokesperson for the politician said on Monday.

The Rochester-Post Bulletin published a story on Monday morning quoting Dayton as saying, "It may be that we have to fine-tune [the minimum wage law]," in regard to restaurant employees whose paychecks are supplemented by tips.

"I have two sons who own a bar and restaurant," Dayton told the Post-Bulletin Editorial Board last Friday, referring to Andrew and Eric Dayton, who own Bachelor Farmer in the North Loop. "I understand my sons' frustration with the tip credit issue. They make a very articulate case." (You can hear a full recording of the minimum wage discussion here.)

But press secretary Matt Swenson has stepped in to clarify Dayton's off-the-cuff remarks, telling the Pioneer Press that the governor "does not support or advocate any changes to that law at this time."

See also:
Punch Pizza raises its minimum wage to $10 an hour

The Rochester-Post Bulletin wrote that Dayton said his restaurateur sons were pushing for changes in the minimum wage law that would lower wages for tipped employees. Swenson, however, claims that Dayton was simply attempting to explain restaurant owners' concerns -- not that he promoted a change in the law.

Since tips aren't taken into consideration when calculating minimum wage, tipped employees such as restaurant servers can make much more than other minimum wage employees.

The Minnesota Restaurant Association's proposal for a "tipped employee tier" would reduce minimum wage back down to $7.25 per hour for servers who make more than $12 an hour with tips. Servers who make less than $12 an hour would be eligible to receive $9.50 plus tips.

The tipped employee tier is not currently included in the minimum wage law that will take effect in 2016, but Rep. Jason Isaacson (DFL, Shoreview) plans to introduce a bill that would take tips into consideration when calculating minimum wage next session.

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