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A new rule could force restaurant workers to share tips

The Trump administration is moving to scrap another rule of the Obama era. This affects the workers who are paid in tips.

According to a change in the proposed Department of Labor regulation on Monday, employers can ask employees who earn a minimum wage of $ 7.25 per hour, and also earn tips, group tip-to-money and share it with colleagues They do not earn tips. That practice was banned in 2011 by President Obama's Department of Labor, which said that tips belonged to the employee who earned them, and could only legally join other employees who received tips.

The restaurant industry applauded Monday's decision, while workers' rights groups said it would leave many working in restaurants, hotels and bars with lower wages.

According to the Department of Labor, changing the rules will help workers who do not interact directly with customers and often make less money, such as cook restaurants and dishwashers.

"These employees & # 39; of the house & # 39; contribute to the overall customer experience, but may receive less compensation than their colleagues with traditional tips," the agency said in its announcement.

But the National Employment Law Project, a progressive group, said the measure would give employers too much discretion over how to allocate the tips their workers earn.

"Tips belong to the w orkers who have earned them – period, but today the Trump Labor Department has proposed a way for employers to keep the tips," said NELP director Christine Owens.

The organization pointed to a line in the Department of Labor document, which specifically says that managers could use combined money tips to make structural improvements, such as expanding the dining area or lowering menu prices.

"Fundamentally, the rule does not really require employers to distribute pooled tips to workers," said Heidi Shierholz, senior economist at the left. The ruling Economic Policy Institute, in a statement.

The Democrats have also opposed the change of the rules.

"The rule proposed by the Trump Administration would allow employers to pocket the tips of employees willingly while workers pay tips for the unfortunate federal minimum wage of $ 7.25 per hour," said Representative Bobby Scott, the Democrat of greater rank in the Committee of Education and Labor Force of the Chamber, in a statement. "Regardless of the claims of the proponents, nothing in this proposed rule would require employers to redistribute advice to workers."

The new rule is not final, and you still need to go through a public comment period of 30 days. The Trump administration stopped applying the existing rule in July.

The 2011 provision was detested by restaurant groups from the start. The National Restaurant Association sued the Department of Labor shortly after the regulation came into effect, claiming that it would have a huge economic impact on the industry.

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court earlier this year, but the court has not decided whether or not to hear the case.

On Monday, the Law Center Restaurant, an arm of the National Restaurant Association, made a brief statement in favor of the new rule of the Trump administration.

"We applaud the Department of Labor review of tipping regulations," said Executive Director Angelo Amador. "We hope to present comments from the restaurant industry on the new regulation."

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