R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin has joined 16 other state attorneys general in filing a letter that opposes a proposed U.S. Department of Labor rule that would allow employers to pocket tips earned by employees who are paid the federal minimum wage. This would upend longstanding norms that allow tipped employees, such as wait staff in a restaurant, to keep all the tips they earn. The Economic Policy Institute has calculated that if this rule is implemented, it could take up to $5.8 billion out of the pockets of workers and give them to employers.
Some argue that this change will allow employers to distribute tips to staff who are not visible to the public (and thus are not tipped). But even a small re-distribution of tips would have a significant impact on the earnings of tipped staff. Does this sound like a good idea to you?