The United States Labor Department is finally rolling out long-awaited rules regarding overtime, tip pooling and side-work pay.
Tipped workers and employers alike understand the struggle of decoding national and statewide labor regulations regarding their work. Tipped labor itself is often a contentious topic, making some brands subject to controversy for questionable practices. Tips and subminimum wages have roots in prejudiced, discriminatory practices, but for many Americans and restaurateurs alike it is a deeply-ingrained system that informs the very structure of the U.S. foodservice industry.
Labor rights activists and restaurant owners are frequently at odds over pertinent labor regulations, and according to Nation’s Restaurant News, the Labor Department is implementing changes which will affect overtime pay, tip pooling and side work for restaurant workers.
The first overtime rule will raise the threshold for salaried employees eligible for overtime. Presently, workers making less than $23,660, or $455 per week, are eligible for overtime depending on job duties. NRN reported that the new regulations will raise the bar to $35,308, or $679 per week, making 1.3 million workers eligible for overtime pay.
NRN also reported that tip pooling regulations are being loosened such that back-of-house employees will soon be able to participate.
Lastly, the Labor Department issued an updated bulletin in regards to the “80/20 rule”, an industry practice which prohibits employers from using subminimum wages for side work that occupies more than 20% of an employees labor. Basically, if you spent all night rolling silverware instead of waiting tables, servers were entitled to make the full minimum wage. The bulletin issued by the Labor Department rescinded the Obama-era law, but this is not the end of the debate, according to NRN.
“The Department is proposing to revise the existing ‘dual jobs’ regulation to provide greater clarity, consistent with current guidance, regarding an employer’s ability to take a tip credit to satisfy minimum wage obligations for time spent by a tipped employee performing duties that are related to the employee’s tipped occupation,” said the Labor Department in its spring regulatory agenda as reported by Bloomberg Law.
Read the full story in NRN here.