Trump administration targets Obama rule on workers' tips

U.S. Dept. of Labor makes announcement this week

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Restaurants and tourism are big business in South Florida, but big changes could be coming to the way servers earn money.

Right now, the Trump administration is working to roll back an Obama-era rule that bans employers from pooling workers’ tips.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a proposal this week to change the Fair labor Standards Act. The change would allow employers to pool the tips of workers who make full minimum wage and share them with non-tipped workers. 

The National Restaurant Association said the point is to get rid of pay disparity between servers in the front and staff in the kitchen.

However, local restaurants like Sweeties Diner in Fort Pierce say the move can be unfair for many workers.

"I think it should stay the same, I do not think that pooling has merit," said owner, Rick Reed. "A customer gives a gratuity to that specific employee, that server for the service that they rendered. It's like a gift."

Reed added, "It doesn't have anything to do with the dishwasher or the cashier, or anyone else in the restaurant. You shouldn't expect or require the customer to pay all of your employees through tipping. It doesn't make any sense."

The U.S. Labor Department says the proposal would not affect employees who make less than than minimum wage.

The public will have the next 30 days to comment on the proposed rule once its published in the Federal Register's website.

Click here to submit a formal comment.

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