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Chula Vista bartender thankful for new minimum wage and Christmas bonus from restaurant owners

Posted at 8:34 PM, Jan 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-04 10:16:29-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — Jazmin Gardner has been bartending for 14 years.

"I left a corporate career to come and do this full time. I found this space to be more fulfilling, grounding and fun in general," said Gardner who works at La Nacional in Chula Vista.

Gardner will see an increase in her paycheck this year.  That’s because the minimum wage is now $16 in California.

"Being that we live in California, even $25 per hour is not enough money to pay all of your bills. I cannot imagine how hard it is to get by, if you have children here," Gardner added.

Mikey Knab is the Co-Founder of Business for Good San Diego.

He says while the increase is not nearly enough for our cost of living here in San Diego, paying workers more helps retain them and customers.

"The connection is really human. That is what hospitality is all about. Any kind of workers in any business. When you create a human connection it helps keep brand loyalty tangible," said Knab.

Jasmine makes $16 per hour, plus tips. In California employers cannot pay tipped employees a lower minimum wage. But that is not the case in many states like New York.

For example, if you work as a bartender in New York City, the minimum wage there is $16 per hour. Your employer might pay you $11 per hour. You would have to count the rest, $5 per hour from your tips to meet that minimum wage requirement.

Jazmin says her tips are hit or miss in Chula Vista and North Park. But she is thankful to work for a generous employer. 

"We got a generous Christmas bonus! We are going to get paid on time no matter what. If I have something going on personally, they do have our backs," she added.