The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do a lot of things in our daily lives, from the way we order groceries to how we pay for goods and services. While cash is still necessary for a healthy economy, an increase in cashless payments is having an effect that many people don’t realize. One group of workers who are greatly affected by cashless payments are tipped workers. 

According to a recent Washington Post article, “While the pandemic has led to a surge in tipping for restaurant servers and food delivery workers — the standard gratuity climbing closer to 20 percent than 15 percent and increasingly even carryout orders leading to tips — millions of other tipped workers have been largely excluded from this newfound generosity.

“These often-overlooked workers — hotel housekeepers, bellhops, carwash jockeys, airport skycaps and wheelchair escorts among them — have been hit hard by an increasingly cashless economy and new pandemic work rules that chip away at tipping opportunities.” 

These workers largely are only able to accept cash tips.

A Dearth of Research

While research has been conducted about tipping in restaurants, very little is known about the habits of customers tipping these types of workers. One possible reason for the lack of information is that these workers largely earn tips that are cash and are off-the-books. This makes the tips are markedly underreported. However, experts theorize that tipping cash workers has gone down significantly in recent years.

Until employers are forced to pay workers a living wage, tipped workers will continue to be at risk of losing a significant portion of their income due to customers who prefer to make a cashless payment. This is one amongst many reasons why having easy access to cash is essential for a thriving business and overall economic health.

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