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Restaurants That Pay $15 Base Wage Would Be Able to Add 15 Percent Surcharge: New Bill

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Nov. 23, 2020 By Allie Griffin

A council member who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens introduced a bill Thursday that would allow restaurants to add a 15 percent surcharge to the tab if they pay all their employees a base wage of at least $15 per hour.

Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who represents parts of Ridgewood, Bushwick and Williamsburg, introduced the legislation to help compensate restaurants that decide to pay their tipped employees the $15 general minimum wage.

Employers are allowed to pay tipped workers a lower minimum wage than standard employees, since these workers are expected to make up the difference through gratuities.

Reynoso has named the surcharge in his legislation the “Food Service Establishment Surcharge.” The surcharge would need to be clearly disclosed on the menu, final bill and receipt should a restaurant decide to take advantage of it.

The surcharge cannot be applied to take-out or delivery orders.

Reynoso’s bill also mandates that restaurants make it clear that the additional charge is not a gratuity. All tips would still go to the workers.

The bill would repeal and replace a new local law that temporarily allows eateries to charge customers a “COVID-19 Recovery Charge.”

The current COVID-19 law allows restaurants to add a surcharge of up to 10 percent of the tab. The COVID-19 law ends 90 days after full indoor dining is once again permitted.

Reynoso’s legislation would allow establishments to add a higher surcharge to diners’ bills on a permanent basis.

The bill is co-sponsored by Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer, Adrienne Adams, Brad Lander, Ben Kallos and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

If passed, the legislation would go into effect 120 days after becoming a law.

The legislation has the support of One Fair Wage, a nonprofit that lobbies for the elimination of the tipped minimum wage, according to Eater.

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17 Comments

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Anonymous

Tipping is just a horrible system that has been abused and favors some employees over others, just ask a busboy or dishwasher. Pay your employees a fair salary and lose the tax evading, expenses shifting, customer fleecing called tipping. The worst part is nowadays everyone has their hand out for a tip from the grocery cashier to the coffee shop..it’s practically expected. 15% tips are considered bad as most places post ‘suggested’ tip amounts at 18%, 20%, 25%! They say it’s incentive to do a good job (baloney.. you still get lousy service), they say it keeps costs down (baloney…the managers and owners pocket more for themselves), they say it provides good jobs (baloney..most of the cash is not declared to avoid taxes which is a long term problem). Tipping isn’t even appreciated… it’s expected. Bad system.

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woodside guy

Why a law don’t businesses set their own prices? If it cost 15% more to pay $15.00 an hour raise your prices, if this causes you to lose business lower them it is called a free market. Tips will probably fall or people will eat out less if this is passed and widely adopted.

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Let's do the math

So if I go to a restaurant I’ll have to pay a 15% surcharge and then another 16 to 20% on top of that for tip? That’s just to expensive and I would say prevent people from dinning out. Restuarants are already experiencing a loss in foot traffic. If they are saying we dont have to tip anymore that will just mean less money for the servers. Tipped staff make more money than minimum wage jobs.

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JakeInSunnyside

I cannot believe how stupid people are. This is not a liberal tax. It’s a conservative tax. Business simply does not want to pay a living wage to people, and conservatives are all on board with that. They want YOU to subsidize business. Business is everything. Nobody cares about taking up parking spaces for BUSINESS, but god forbid a single parking space is removed so a bike riding WORKER can get to work without paying the MTA. This is all about subsidizing business. If you can’t pay your staff, don’t open a business. If the business model changes – as a result of C19 – then GET ANOTHER JOB. Just like every other worker. Business is not special. It’s called “market forces.” This is socialism for the rich.

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Mac

Tree of liberty – so smug. People who believe lies, don’t care enough about others to wear a simple mask and wash their hands are stupid.

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Tree of Liberty

Mac what are you talking about. I never stated what side of fence I was on with this mask or anything with covid. I just get offended by people who call people stupid as Jake did and that you always do.

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Foolish leaders

Tipping has kept single moms and many other people off government assistance for many generations.
Government numbers show them making a lot less than what they really do because most to declare all of their income on their tax returns if at all. It is how undocumented works can survive as well as people without fancy degrees. If you go to any country that doesn’t tip their bartenders or the wait staff like we do and everyone there makes a lot less than here in america

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Say what!

These politicians have no idea about the restuarant business or any bussiness for that matter. Sure increase all your tipped staff employees and then tax on a 15% surcharge to your customers during hard times. Yeah that will workout. All these politicians who talk about how restuarants should be run and charge have never worked in one or owned one. Ridiculous!

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David

Say what – You’re the one who obviously doesn’t know what you’re talking about. Take a trip to Europe Canada or Australia and learn how a real restaurant is run.

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Danny

I’ve been to canada several times Australia twice I go to Europe every year wife my wife ( that is where she is from) my wife also owns and manages a pub/restaurant in Manhattan. I also have several friends who own restaurants that are from all over the world. I worked in the business here in NYC when I was younger but I mainly go in what the current owners and staff tell me. Bartenders in Europe dont make as much as Bartenders in Manhattan, but your so well traveled what do we know. Right David?

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Crybaby Conservatism

Danny – I don’t think anyone is talking about what a bartender makes. They’re talking about the entire staff. Places with a living wage aren’t picking out of the public coffers like EBT, WIC or section 8 just to name a few of the publicly funded financial supplement programs, to help working people make ends meet. Since you’re a traveler you can help dispel the myths about living wages and dining out.

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Danny

Crybaby conservatism. This bill is not for the entire staff it is for tipped staff read the article and stay on topic. By the way non of my wifes staff tipped or untipped staff are on public assistance. Crybaby you seem to know so much about the business how many employees do you have?

Crybaby Conservatism

I managed a restaurant at the NY Hilton for 20 years (Cafe NY)and worked at our family owned a luncheonette on the corner of 49th street and 43rd avenue in the 50’s and 60’s where the brick 3 family houses were built in the late 70’s after the fire, stand today. I also worked at our family owned bar in the 70’s where Sanger Hall operates today. Danny, this bill isn’t just about the bar tender either and I read the article an am aware this bill is just about “tipped” employees, the funny thing my post was not a response to the article per say but a statement comparing a living wage system to that of a system of tipping that creates an underground economy riddled with fraud. I know my post and life time of experience could never compete with that of a person whose wife once worked in an industry or possibly still working. Your knowledge of your wife’s restaurant employees personal finances is pretty astounding and doesn’t meet with the reality in the service economy.

Say what!

David, what makes you think I’ve never been to any of these places you mentioned? And more or that I haven’t worked in Europe or in fact that I’m not European? I think its obvious youve never worked in the restaurant business yet alone own one. Let’s do a test and see how many places implement these changes, keep them or stay in business.

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kilgore trout

nah, im not going for this liberal feel good tax BS at the bottom of every check. Just raise prices, costs go up thats what businesses do.

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