Back in December, we reported on the Trump administration’s proposed changes to tip-pooling regulations that would allow employers to pocket servers’ tips as long as the employees continue to make minimum wage. That’s right: Employers could take servers’ tips and just dole out the minimum wage. But wait, it gets worse!
Turns out, the Department Of Labor knew how crappy this would make life for restaurant employees. This Bloomberg Law article, citing sources within the agency, reveals that the Department Of Labor knowingly buried its own data that showed restaurant workers would lose billions of dollars in gratuities under the new proposal.
Through some crafty shell games, the Department Of Labor minimized this data’s inclusion in the final analysis, Bloomberg Law reports: “Senior department political officials—faced with a government analysis showing that workers could lose billions of dollars in tips as a result of the proposal—ordered staff to revise the data methodology to lessen the expected impact, several of the sources said.” After some back and forth about which estimated losses to include in their report, Department Of Labor officials “wound up receiving approval from the White House to publish a proposal December 5 that removed the economic transfer data altogether, the sources said.”
Even in an administration synonymous with a lack of transparency, this is galling. While the public comment period on this proposal is open until February 5, it’s unclear how much the department will even take public feedback into account when considering the tip-pooling changes. Restaurant workers make up 10 percent of the national workforce, according to the National Restaurant Association.