Illegal Pete’s raises minimum wage to $15 an hour for tipped, hourly paid staff


US-based Mexican restaurant chain Illegal Pete’s has raised its minimum starting wage for tipped, hourly paid employees to $15 (£11.77) an hour, effective from January 2019.

This equates to a $6 (£4.71) pay rise since Illegal Pete’s last increased its minimum starting wage in 2015 to $9 (£7.06) an hour.

The pay increase will mean that tipped, hourly-paid employees that join the organisation can earn an additional $1,000 (£784.40) a month or an extra $12,000 (£9412.80) a year on average.

The restaurant chain, which employs 450 staff across two sites in Arizona and nine in Colorado, has also raised its other wage levels in line with this pay increase, including salaried management pay.

The chain’s living wage initiative means that its employees are paid above local state minimum wage levels; this is set at $8.08 (£6.34) an hour in Colorado and $8 (£6.28) an hour in Arizona.

This increase in pay will be delivered in conjunction with the existing benefits package at Illegal Pete’s, which includes medical, dental and vision insurance, a 401(K) pension scheme, paid time off, paid sick leave, food and drink and an organisation average of $4.72 (£3.70) in tips. Illegal Pete’s believes its benefits package brings the minimum annual compensation of a tipped employee to the equivalent of $46,000 (£36,082.39).

Pete Turner, founder and president at Illegal Pete’s, said: “We began our living wage initiative in June of 2015, and we’re proud to say that we’ll hit our goal starting in January of 2019.”