A bill that would have brought the state’s tipping regulations in line with federal regulations was not brought up for a veto override vote earlier this week. I previously covered the subject in prior posts here and here.
According to a report in CT Mirror, a “deal” is now being sought that would allow the issue to be brought back before the General Assembly. However, that may not happen until next year. (Update on July 29, 2019: The deal may be brought before a special session late this summer.)
As a result, restaurants should continue to ensure that they meet the requirements of the state’s confusing regulations on service vs. non-service work. I covered that in a prior post.
This will, no doubt, come as a disappointment to some who had sought to have this bill go under the radar. Indeed, I even heard grumblings that I shouldn’t have even posted about it — as if talking about something that passed the General Assembly ought to be a secret or that our clients didn’t have a right to know what was going on. But that seems somewhat misguided.
The state’s wage/hour regulations regarding restaurants are arcane, hard to follow, and are ripe for retooling. While well-intentioned, they don’t necessarily reflect modern-day realities of some restaurants where service teams are utilized to provide the best service to customers. And there are traps for lots of small businesses who provide essential work to thousands of individuals in this state. The penalties are disproportionate to the compliance issues they cover and can be devastating to businesses.
Ever try explaining things like the “Minimum Daily Earnings Guarantee” in Conn. Regs. Sec. 31-62-E1? Why can waiters get tips that count to the tip credit but “countergirls, counterwaitresses” among others are ineligible? And why should a waiter doing a “non-service” duty eliminate the use of the tip credit entirely? And is tip pooling allowed? Under what circumstances?
With the minimum wage increasing to $15/hour over the next few years, and therefore, the penalties to employers for non-compliance increasing significantly, it is essential that the General Assembly find a solution to this. A grand “deal” may just be the best thing to come from the veto; no doubt, the publicity has educated more than a few legislators about the critical need here.
The future of our restaurant industry may just depend on it.