Austin mom posts a TikTok video explaining her $9.28 paycheck after working 70-plus hours as a waitress.
Aaliyah Cortez has been a server and bartender at a local sports bar for over a year.
After constantly receiving paychecks that ranged between $4 and $11 for 70-plus hours of work, she decided to create a TikTok video explaining the importance of tipping.
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.
In the viral video, Aaliyah, who's also a mom, worked for 70.8 hours.
However, she only took home less than $9.28 after deducting federal taxes, Social Security, and Medicare.
Expressing her disbelief, she said:
Of course, I got tips, but this is what I got for my hourly.
I cannot afford to live off of $2.13 an hour, so I solely rely on the generosity of my customers.
In many states, service industry employers can pay tipped employees a minimum wage of $2.13 an hour under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Speaking to Bored Panda, Aaliyah opened up about her struggles as a single mom, earning minimum wage.
Honestly, every time I open a check, I just chuckle a little bit.
My coworkers and I will compare checks to see who got the least amount, and we'll just laugh because it's ridiculous how little we get paid.
I would just like to add that I love my job, and I'm fortunate enough to make enough to get by. But it's tough to think that if an emergency comes up, it could really hurt me financially.
I just wish we all had stable and consistent paychecks.
Aaliyah claims monthly paychecks do little for employees like her.
It's important to tip because we literally rely solely on those tips. We'll be greatly appreciative, and it's just nice to be compassionate and understanding that this is just how laws are set up.
If you're going to restaurants that do abide by these laws, you are feeding into the broken system.
We don't like relying on the customer, but until the laws [changes], we still need to be paid.
Aaliyah's Video Has Sparked Quite the Conversation Online
Many netizens were shocked to see how little Aaliyah's hourly wage is.
One person said:
This is so wrong.
While another added:
When she said $2.13 an hour, I thought there was a typo or something. That's just criminal.
However, some unsympathetic users said Aaliyah shouldn't have agreed to work a job with such a low hourly wage.
One user wrote:
Stop working there then. Don't go into a job knowing the outcome and blame people for not tipping.
Someone else commented:
That's your fault for picking a job that pays $2.13 an hour. I know teens who make more than that.
Meanwhile, others came to Aaliyah's defense, insisting it's the industry's fault, not hers, for such a low wage.