Donald Trump’s Department of Labor has found a way to make tipped jobs worse. In case the routine sexual harassment tipped workers endure and the low pay aren’t bad enough, Trump’s people want to allow bosses to steal tips.
The Department of Labor released a proposed rule rescinding portions of its tip regulations, including current restrictions on “tip pooling”—which would mean that, for example, restaurants would be able to pool the tips servers receive and share them with untipped employees such as cooks and dishwashers. But, crucially, the rule doesn’t actually require that employers distribute pooled tips to workers. Under the administration’s proposed rule, as long as the tipped workers earn minimum wage, the employer can legally pocket those tips.
Here’s how the Trump Department of Labor describes it:
Under the proposed rule, workplaces would have the freedom to allow sharing of tips among more employees. The proposal would help decrease wage disparities between tipped and non-tipped workers – an option that is currently restricted by a rule promulgated in 2011 that has been challenged in a number of courts.
“FREEDOM!” Yes, the freedom for employers to get out of paying any of their workers decent wages. As Christine Owens of the National Employment Law Project said in a statement:
If companies have trouble retaining non-tipped workers because their pay is so low, the solution is for the companies to raise the wages of those workers—not for the labor department to rig the rules so employers can essentially steal earnings from tipped workers to subsidize the businesses’ low wage model.
Make America Great Again, one stolen tip at a time.