Wage Mandates Hurt Workers Posted on May 17, 2013 Marcia Pledger’s story on the minimum wage (“Issue of minimum-wage raise fuels passionate proponents, opponents,” Sunday) unfortunately repeats the oft-used falsehood that tipped workers earn “only” $2.13 an hour. Federal law requires that all tipped employees earn at least the minimum wage of $7.25. Tipped employees actually average $13 an hour when tip income is included, according to Census Bureau data — and top earners earn $24 or more. Additionally, research suggests that wage mandates actually are a step backward for these employees: Economists from Miami and Trinity universities found a greater than 5 percent drop in hours worked by tipped employees for each 10 percent increase in the tipped wage. Michael Saltsman, Washington, D.C. Saltsman is research director for the Employment Policies Institute.