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ON new report Today revealed that dozens of New York restaurant workers cut their tips after the city temporarily allowed restaurants to charge an optional surcharge of up to 10 percent last October to compensate for those lost to the COVID-19 pandemic Balance funds. A majority of restaurant workers interviewed for the report said their tips were rejected after attempting to get customers to follow safety protocols and that restaurant owners failed to consistently enforce safety guidelines in their establishments.
The report – prepared by One Fair Wage, the organization campaigning for a full tipped minimum wage for restaurant workers in New York – included responses from 344 and 450 restaurant workers in NYC and New York State, respectively. NYC workers were interviewed between January 25 and 31 this year, and workers outside of the city were interviewed between October 6 and November 10 last year.
In NYC, 35 percent of workers surveyed said their restaurants had accepted the bid, and 57 percent of those workers said their tips had been declined as a result. Many of the workers surveyed reported confusion among diners who felt that the supplement would be used to cover employees’ salaries when in reality the supplement can be offset against what the restaurant owner deems appropriate. Among workers who reported a decrease in tips, 43 percent said the decrease was 25 percent or more.
This additional decrease is due to employees, according to the report, whose tips have already decreased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Fifty-nine percent of all restaurant workers surveyed said their tips had decreased since the pandemic began, and the problem was even more acute for black restaurant workers, of whom 75 percent said their tips had decreased by 50 percent or more.
The drop in tips is largely due to restaurant workers enforcing COVID-19 safety guidelines, according to the report. 65 percent of workers surveyed said they lost tips after asking people to wear masks or enforce social distancing. The problem was again acute for black workers, 71 percent of whom reported a drop in tips after trying to enforce safety measures.
According to the report, workers had to grapple with these losses while feeling largely uncomfortable and unsafe returning to work during the pandemic. 42 percent of surveyed workers said sexual harassment by customers increased during the pandemic, including asking that servers remove their masks so they can smile and some people even hug servers without their permission without wearing masks.
According to the report, workers also faced health risks. Of the workers surveyed in the report, nearly 80 percent said their employers did not consistently follow COVID-19 safety protocols. Among the safety issues, social distancing appeared to be the biggest cause for concern. Only 57 percent of the employees surveyed said that their employers encouraged them to keep a distance of two meters if possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have listed Indoor dining Among the activities at highest risk for spreading the virus, and although indoor eating didn’t resume until February 12 in NYC, it previously resumed the rest of the state. In addition, restaurant workers were only able to receive vaccinations in early February.
The catering industry has been devastated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1,000 restaurants have closed in NYC, and hotel insiders have predicted more closings without continued government assistance and more long-term solutions to expenses like rent. In December alone, more than 11,000 restaurant and bar jobs were cut, a decrease of 5.8 percent compared to the previous month. Given this persistent uncertainty, workers surveyed in the One Fair Wage report said they had no choice but to return. However, given the ongoing safety risks and falling wages, four in ten restaurant workers surveyed in NYC said they are considering leaving their jobs.
Plans to add surcharges to NYC restaurant bills have been in the works for several years, but lawmakers linked this to the decline in business due to the pandemic, as evidenced by the New York City Council last fall. While groups like One Fair Wage are not opposed to the award per se, they have asked restaurants that accept the award to ensure that employees receive a minimum wage of $ 15 excluding tips. As the industry faced historical losses, this requirement did not make it into final legislation.
Only seven states – including California, Oregon, and Washington – guarantee a full minimum wage for restaurant workers without tips. Restaurant workers and lawyers have been campaigning for years to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour. Governor Andrew Cuomo moved in last year but left out the restaurant workers. When it stands straightNew York City restaurants may pay tipped workers a base salary of $ 10 with a tip of $ 5. Unless restaurant workers automatically make $ 15 an hour tipping, owners must make up that difference so that it hits $ 15 an hour.
Some in the industry support the current system, including the NYC Hospitality Alliance, which represents thousands of restaurant owners across the city. and the restaurant workers of America. The alliance has previously said that a full minimum wage would further decimate an industry already hit by a historic financial crisis. Full minimum wage advocates like One Fair Wage have countered how the current system perpetuates racial and gender gaps in the industry. President Joe Biden Has suggested a federal minimum wage of $ 15 as part of its coronavirus relief bill, but at least two Senate Democrats oppose it, so it remains uncertain whether that particular measure will pass.
Check out the full One Fair Wage review below: