This is breaking news.
A Florida senate committee in Tallahassee unveiled SPB 7021 on Tuesday, just two days ago. The proposal is to lower
...Florida's minimum wage for tipped workers — now $4.65 an hour — to the federal tipped minimum of $2.13 for companies that agree to guarantee that with wages and tips their employees will make at least $9.98 an hour.
The (non-tipped employee) minimum wage in the state of Florida is currently $7.67 per hour. The guaranteed tip credit bringing waitress wages to $9.98 per hour is based upon an average of just under $10 per hour for waitresses in Florida. Personally, I think shaving off the two cents from the tip credit is bloody ludicrous.
Remember, a tip credit is the difference between minimum wage and tipped employee minimum wage. Therefore, if minimum wage is $8, and tipped employee minimum wage is $5, a waitress must be compensated an additional $3 per hour per shift, either from tips or from the restaurant. (The latter seldom, if ever, happens.)
The Florida legislation is offering to guarantee a tip credit that brings waitress wages higher than Florida's regular minimum wage. Predictably, however, I am a bit skeptical. I've spent too many years with non-waitress staff looking at me like their personal ATM to be comfortable with a pay slash.
In theory, every waitress in Florida will walk home with at least $10 minus two pennies in wages per hour per shift. If you believe this, however, I have a lovely apricot orchard in the Middle East for sale. It's a wonderful investment; I'll send you pictures. You can pay me via paypal.
On slow shifts, she will be subjected to the guilt trip / veiled threat that, "If you can't make at least under $10 per hour, you must be a terrible waitress." Even after good shifts during which she made good money, she still will be required to tip out or tip pool. If she fusses that tipping out brings her to less than $9.98 per hour, she gets the guilt trip / veiled threat. She also earns the wrath of bussers, bartenders, and anybody else making at least $7.67 before tips. If she tip pools, she probably has to put ALL tips in the pool, not just tips after keeping the $9.98 per hour.
This strikes me as another example of the restaurant industry claiming poverty and expecting the least powerful employee to compensate the rest of the staff. Years ago, I worked with kitchen staff and managers who were making terrible wages, and literally having difficulty feeding their children as a result. I got a peek at the books. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I was floored at the amount of money the owner was drawing while telling full-time employees he couldn't pay them more.
When banks and businesses go unregulated, a few get rich by stepping on and breaking the necks of the many. If you don't believe me, the next time your boss pleads poverty, look at what he or she drives.
Outback Steakhouse supports this bill. Those of you who dine there may want to consider this next time your are planning an evening out.