A federal proposal could affect those working for tips - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

A federal proposal could affect those working for tips

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CARBONDALE -- A new federal proposal wants to give employers more control over a workers tips. Employers could share the money with all workers in a restaurant, including cooks and dishwashers, or choose not share it at all as long as the employee makes minimum wage.

"I think its a terrible idea. I would even call it criminal. I've known businesses that took the employees tips and said 'I'm paying you minimum wage, so that tip bucket is mine.' I think that's horrible," said Elaine Ramseyer, General Manager of Longbranch Cafe and Bakery. 

Ramseyer says because of tips, her servers average about $15 an hour. She pays $5 dollars for every hour worked, and the tips make up the difference.  

"If we wanted an hourly wage job, we would go get one. There's a reason why people are servers. The hours are a little more flexible, but also because of the tips," said Lindsay Cappeli. 

Cappeli doesn't think servers should hand over their tip money to an employer to use as they see fit,  even if the server makes minimum wage.  The single mom says she couldn't survive on $8.25 an hour. 

"I mean it would be literally impossible for me to save for my sons college fund. Literally impossible for me to make ends meet in a two bedroom house," said Cappeli. 

Proponents of the proposal say giving the tips to the employer means that money could be better distributed to everyone helping provide a service. But, Ramsayer argues, she already has a system, making sure everyone gets to benefit from a busy shift, even those in the back. 

"We give 10 percent to the kitchen, 10 percent to the dishwasher. So if you make a hundred bucks, you give $10 to this person and $10 to the other person," said Ramseyer. 

The Labor Department estimated the proposed rule would affect more than a million servers and over 200,000 bartenders across the United States. Workers in hair and nail salons would also be affected.

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