Aaliyah Cortez, who is a mother, worked more than 70 hours but only took home less than $10 after federal taxes, social security and Medicare. (Photo: f.aa.ded/TikTok)
“So this is why you should always tip your bartenders and servers, anyone who waits on you or provides a service for you,” Aaliyah Cortez said in the now-viral video she posted last month.
The paycheck showed that Cortez, who is also a mother, worked more than 70 hours but only took home less than $10 after federal taxes, Social Security and Medicare.
“Of course, I got tips, but this is what I got for my hourly,” Cortez said, pointing out that she’s paid only $2.13 an hour. “This is why you tip.”
In many states, service industry employers are allowed to pay employees a minimum wage of $2.13 an hour under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, as long as their cash tips add up to the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.25, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Texas, along with other states such as North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, falls in this category.
“There are laws set up that allow tipped employees to be paid under the federal minimum wage, which makes us rely on the customer to pay our wages,” Cortez told BuzzFeed.
“It’s not right that we have to do this, but I wanted to shed some light on the issue and inform the public about the importance of tipping,” she added.
Cortez, who works at a sports bar, said she likes her job and is fortunate for the tips she makes, but wished all service industry workers were paid “adequately and consistently.”
“As you can see by my check, I cannot afford to live off of $2.13 an hour, so I solely rely on the generosity of my customers,” she added.
After her TikTok video went viral, Cortez returned to the popular social video app to thank everyone for showing support and helping to spread her message.
“I owe it to you guys. Thank you,” she said.