Deal prevents withholding tips

Staff reports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) this week announced legal protections for tipped workers in the omnibus spending deal Congress passed Thursday night. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a rule that would force workers to forfeit their hard-earned tips to employers. The provision in the spending deal will block that rule by preventing employers, supervisors or managers from keeping workers’ tips for themselves under the law.

Brown strongly opposed the DOL regulation. While the solution in the spending package is a step in the right direction, Brown said more must be done to raise wages for all workers. Brown has introduced legislation to phase out the separate tipped minimum wage that allows employers to pay tipped workers less than minimum wage. And Brown supports raising the overall minimum wage to $15 per hour.

“This is not a perfect solution. But it will prevent employers from pocketing workers’ tips under the new DOL rule and give workers permanent protections under the law,” Brown said. “We have to phase out the separate minimum wage that forces those who earn tips to work for less and raise wages for all workers – in the front and back of the house. Customers and servers should not have to subsidize companies that refuse to pay decent wages.”

In December 2017, the Trump administration proposed rescinding Obama Administration rules that banned employers from taking workers’ tips, potentially allowing employers to keep these tips for themselves. Brown spoke out about this and even joined a Hubbard worker on a news conference call in February to call attention to the proposed rule and express his opposition to it.

Last year, Brown unveiled a plan to increase the value of work in America for all workers. As part of his plan, Brown has introduced legislation to provide employees advanced notice of their work schedules, expand two anti-poverty tax credits that help put money back in the pockets of working Ohioans and families, provide paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, expand overtime pay and strengthen collective bargaining rights.

Staff reports