Outrage after US mum reveals NZ$14 paycheck for 70 hours of work

Aaliyah Cortez worked more than $70 hours but earned only $14.
Aaliyah Cortez worked more than $70 hours but earned only $14. Photo credit: TikTok

This article was first published in February 2020.

An American mum has revealed her NZ$14 paycheck (US$9) for 70 hours of work on TikTok, sending social media users into a spin.

Texan bartender and server Aaliyah Cortez shared the video to raise awareness about the importance of tipping in the United States.

The American service industry has received much criticism for relying on customers' tips to top up their staff's pay of only a few dollars per hour.

The TikTok video shows Cortez was paid $3.31 hourly totalling a payment of $234.21 for 70 hours of work.

However that figure was quickly reduced to $14.41 after social security, taxes and medicare were deducted.

Cortez told Buzzfeed she shared the video online to "shed some light" on how the service industry works.

"There are laws set up that allow tipped employees to be paid under the federal minimum wage, which makes us rely on the customer to pay our wages."

Cortez said while she received approximately $1,000 in tips, she still couldn't afford to live off $3 an hour.

"It's not right that we have to do this...I solely rely on the generosity of my customers."

The bartender's video was also shared on Twitter, receiving close to 10 million views.

One user wrote: "How is this legal. That's outrageous."

"Slave labour," another person commented.

But not everyone was sympathetic.

"It's the customer's choice to tip," one user posted. "Tipping is a privilege, not a necessity."