Waiters, bartenders worry that proposed rule to pool tips will hit pay

Philip Athey

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Waiters, bartenders worry that proposed rule to pool tips will hit pay

WASHINGTON – The tips Jonathan Teslevich earns are “crucial to my life,” which is why the Phoenix bartender worries that a new Labor Department rule on tip pooling could cost him the majority of his income.

The proposed rule change would reverse decades of departmental policy by letting employers pool tips received by any workers who are paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

The goal is to help pay “back of the house” workers, such as cooks and dishwashers, but it does not require employers to share tips once they collect them.

“This system would remove nearly 81 percent of my earnings from my control … earnings I poured effort and professionalism into,” Teslevich, a bartender at Zinc Brasserie in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, said in an email.

An Economic Policy Institute report estimated that the change, in enacted, could cost tipped workers nationwide from $520 million to as much as $13.2 billion. Arizona would take the fourth-biggest hit, according to the report, with workers there losing $28.8 million to $703.6 million a year.

 

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