SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — A new bill proposed in the Illinois Senate would raise the wages of bar and restaurant workers.

Currently, under federal law, Illinois’ tipped workers can be paid less than the minimum wage of $13 an hour, at a subminimum wage of $7.80 an hour, with the balance made up in tips.

Senate Bill 293, sponsored by Sen. Christine Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago), says, “When it comes down to it, to live on $7.80 an hour is just not doable, it’s not sustainable and frankly, its exploitative,” according to the Center Square.

Pacione-Zayas is part of the One Fair Wage advocacy group.

The proposed legislation would phase out the subminimum wage so all tipped employees would make minimum wage by January 1st, 2025.

State Rep. Mike Coffey (R-Springfield) countered that the current system of gratuity has worked fine, with the employer making up the difference if a tipped employee doesn’t meet the full minimum wage.

“They’ve got a system that works, they need to leave it alone,” Coffey said. “They’ve got to quit going after and trying to find out new ways to tax people and new regulations to hamper business.

“I think that is what differentiates the Untied States of America from a lot of these other countries,” Coffey said. “We reward hard work, so it gives the customer the ability to reward somebody for great service and take away if the service is not great.”

SB 293 is currently assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.