On November 17th, ROC-Philadelphia oversaw the passing of the Gratuity Protection Bill through Philadelphia City Council. The bill will explicitly make it illegal to subtract credit card transaction fees from tips left by customers. Employers who violate the Gratuity-Protection Law will have to repay workers any portion of the tip that was taken and can be fined $2,000 plus court and attorneys fees. The legislation will potentially raise the wages for the estimated 26,000 tipped workers in the Philadelphia area.
Councilman James Kenney, a former restaurant worker, who was elected to city official in 1991, sponsored the legislation. The majority of restaurant workers are low-waged workers with an average wage of only $14,000 per year and a minimum tipped wage of only $2.83 per hour for servers in Pennsylvania.
“Not having to worry about whether credit card fees are being taken out of my tips is going to make a big difference in my life. I know it might not sound like a lot of money, but it’s money that I earn from being a server. And every bit helps me take care of my family,” says one veteran restaurant worker who requested anonymity for fear of losing her job, “I loose at least $5 per shift, that is at least $1,300 a year. That’s a huge amount for me.” she stated.
Philly ROC Coordinator, Fabricio Rodriguez expressed, “This is a great step in the right direction for Philadelphia restaurant workers. Servers, bartenders, and other front of the house restaurant workers, deserve, just like everyone else, the wages they have earned. No one should have their tips stolen from them.”