Wilhour Opposes Proposed Change to “Tipped Wage” Law in Illinois

House Bill 5345 is a proposal to change a law that allows lower hourly wages for Illinoisans who receive cash tips — most commonly restaurant and delivery workers. Opposed by the Illinois Restaurant Association, Rep. Blaine Wilhour is fighting to protect the hospitality sector of the Illinois economy.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour, R-Beecher City, said he fears “you’re going to see less restaurants, you’re going to see less jobs” if the legislation is approved. “The consumers are going to be the ones who pay, that’s who always pays the bill at the end of the day,” Wilhour said. “It’s basically a regressive tax on working people.” Restaurants are still recovering from pandemic closings and a full minimum wage would be another burden on businesses rather than letting the free market fix itself, Wilhour said. 

The April 15, 2024 My Journal Courier full article by reporter Eden MacDougall may be found HERE.

The Illinois Restaurant Association points out that:

  • Current Illinois law provides that every tipped employee must earn at least the $14/hour minimum wage, relying on a blend of base wages and tips to secure a living wage. The notion that tipped employees make less than minimum wage is not true.
  • Removing the tip credit would thrust the entire $14 burden onto operators, substantially escalating their payroll costs and potentially leading to lower wages for workers.
  • Currently, the median tipped restaurant worker earns over $28.00 per hour in Illinois.
  • According to a recent CorCom study:
  • 86% of tipped employees are concerned customers will stop tipping if restaurants impose a surcharge to offset expenses.
  • 87% of those surveyed believe the current system works and should not be changed.

The Illinois Restaurant Association is not alone in this fight. We are members of Protect Illinois Hospitality, a coalition that includes chambers of commerce, service operators, trade organizations and local small business groups who are opposed to House Bill 5345. To contact your state legislator and learn more, visit protectillinoishospitality.com.