Wednesday 6 July 2016

My Request to My MPP to Announce Bill 12: Protecting Employees' Tips Act

Attn Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands:

Hi there,

Below is a link to the announcement of a very important bill that effects servers and bartenders in our awesome city.  A friend of mine has worked at a very popular and long-standing restaurant on Princess street for many years.  According to my friend and others who have worked there, every single server agrees to pay 1% of total sales in cash to the owner each shift.  Cash means there's no record of that transaction.  My friend estimates she's given up thousands of dollars to her employer over the years.  The reason given is as insurance for possible dine & dash incidents and for breakage of plates and glasses.  This is a VERY common practice all over Kingston and all over Ontario and has been for years and years.

As of June 10th, this practice is illegal.  They can require you tip-out to co-workers, but they can
no longer take money from you for what is deemed as 'business expenses'.

But does anyone know this?  Have the servers been paying this every shift since June 10th?  Do the restaurant owners who do this, know that it's now illegal?  Or is the entire thing at the discretion of the employee to report any incidents to employment standards, risking their job status?

Here is an announcement from a group called "Restaurants Canada", but does anyone really
read those announcements let alone follow them?  Were business-owners notified by any governmental agencies about this huge change?

I think you should make an announcement Sophie.  Our city thrives because of our servers and bartenders ... the heart of our incredible and world-renowned food and beverage industry.  They
work incredibly hard serving the every whim of tourists and locals, solidifying Kingston's reputation as a great place to vacation on Lake O.  They deserve our support and they deserve every penny of gratuity that they receive.

In my opinion, it's shameful that servers and bartenders get paid less than minimum wage.  Being paid a fair wage should not be dependent on the customer.  So, the fact that some also have to give up a portion to pay for the "business needs" of their place of employment is asinine to me.

I hope you consider making an announcement to inform all of those involved.  In reality, informing the business-owners now will prevent the on-flux of employment standards claims we're surely going to see.

Thanks for hearing me out Sophie ... Kingston and area is lucky to have you!

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