October 5, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

Sharing Tips: Undressing Pierre to dress Paul

Sharing Tips: Undressing Pierre to dress Paul

Several voices have been raised over the past few days, particularly by the Association des Restaurants du Québec (ARQ) and Director General of the Institute of Tourism and Hospitality of Quebec (ITHQ), demanding tips be shared between waiters and cooks, particularly to reduce the problem of job placement in the kitchen. However, this debate is not new; In 2018, employers in the restaurant sector have already called for the Labor Standards Act (LNT) to be amended to give bosses the power to share tips. The case of labor shortage was also mentioned at that time. In our opinion, this proposal will only reduce the working conditions of workers in the restaurant sector as a whole.

Our organizations are begging for the cook and the cook profession to be more valued and recognized, and this requires better working conditions, but not to the detriment of employees who receive tips! There is no magic formula, to attract and keep staff, you need recognition, better conditions and obviously better salaries. Restaurant owners are well aware that by ending the starvation wages of kitchen workers, they and they will take back the apron. Remember that these salaries have only increased by 10% in the last two years, which is a sign of the need to give incentives to fill the brigades.

Sharing tips risks shifting the recruitment problem in the kitchen to waitresses and waiters. Note that the minimum wage for tipped workers is $11.40 an hour, lower than the regular minimum wage of $14.25. So it’s easy to understand that a less busy day or a lower-priced menu doesn’t necessarily translate into significant tips and therefore a big payout. It would be wrong to believe that all waiters and waitresses in Quebec work in big restaurants with huge bills. Many of them are still struggling to make ends meet!

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Tips are always part of the total wages of waiters and waitresses. Only Quebec has a minimum wage set for them that is lower than the rest of the population. And if a portion of the tip could formerly escape taxation, the question has been settled for twenty-five years.

And we want today, to replace the inadequate salaries of kitchen staff, to replace the income of waiters and waitresses with a mandatory wage… on the employer?

It should be noted that the law in no way prevents the sharing of tips left in the dining room. In many restaurant workplaces, sharing tips with kitchen staff is now the norm.

However, the law prohibits the employer from interfering. Because if tipped employees agree to share their tips with their coworkers in the dining room and kitchen, the workers themselves decide the contracts, without the owner of the establishment imposing its terms and much less dipping into the fund. .

Daniel Boyer
President of the Quebec Federation of Labor (FTQ).

Caroline Senneville
President of the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN).

Colin Lefebvre-Bouchard
President of Down the Ladder