Now Trump is Going After the Obama Rule that Protects Tipped Workers

By Sahid Fawaz

President Donald Trump apparently wants to pick on those who rely on tips for a living. 

It seems that it is not enough for companies to pay tipped workers less (much less) than minimum wage. Now employers want to dictate what the workers can do with the tips that they earn.

The Hill reports:

“The Trump administration is planning to quash an Obama-era rule that prevents employers from pooling workers’ tips.

The change could allow restaurants to share tips waiters receive, for example, with untipped employees such as kitchen cooks.

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced its plan to change the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulation in its semi-annual Unified Regulatory Agenda in July.

The agency said the change would only apply to employers that pay tipped employees the full minimum wage directly. It would not apply to employees who make less than the minimum wage and earn tips to supplement their pay, also known as tip credit.

The move to change the rule is welcome news for service industry employers, who have been fighting it in courts across the country for years.

The National Restaurant Association claims the rule creates a pay disparity in restaurants between the front and back of the house.

Angelo Amador, executive director at the Restaurant Law Center, said when cooks or dishwashers in the kitchen are only making $10 an hour but servers are making $30 an hour after tips it hurts employee harmony and the customer experience.

‘It is an issue of having better cohesiveness,’ he said. ‘It’s why some restaurants are getting rid of tips.’

But labor rights advocates say tips are the property of the employee who earns them and it should stay that way regardless of whether they make minimum wage.

Raj Nayak, director of research at the National Employment Law Project (NELP), said workers rely on their tips to get by and that when customers tip, they believe that money is actually going to the worker.

When you tip at the car wash, he said, you expect that money to go to the person who just washed your car.

‘If you take this rule away, employers can do whatever they want … even take a percentage of the tip,’ he said. ‘Or all of it.'”

For the rest of the story, check out the full piece at The Hill.

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