October 7, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

Complete Canadian News World

Sharing tips: Undressing Bear to dress Paul

Several voices have been raised over the past few days, notably by the Association des Restaurateurs du Québec (ARQ) and Director General of Tourism and Hospitality of Quebec (ITHQ), requiring tip-sharing between staff and chefs, particularly to alleviate the problem of recruitment for kitchen positions. However, this debate is not new; In 2018, employers in the restaurant industry have already called for an amendment to the Labor Standards Act (LNT) to give employers the power to share tips. The context of labor shortage was also mentioned then. In our opinion, this plan dumbs down the working conditions of workers in the entire restaurant industry.

Our organizations appeal to the profession of chefs and cooks to be more prestigious and recognized, which requires better working conditions, but not to the detriment of employees who receive tips! There is no magic formula, to attract and keep employees, you need recognition, better conditions and obviously better pay. Restaurant owners know very well that putting an end to starvation wages for kitchen staff will get them and their arm back. Keep in mind that these salaries have only increased by about 10% in the past two years, which is a sign that incentives need to be given to fill the ranks.

Sharing tips runs the risk of shifting the problem of hiring in the kitchen to waitresses and waiters. Remember that the minimum wage rate for tipped workers is $11.40 an hour, which is lower than the regular minimum wage of $14.25. It’s easy to understand that a less busy day or even a less expensive menu doesn’t necessarily translate into substantial tips and therefore won’t translate into a bigger check. It would be a mistake to believe that all waiters and waitresses in Quebec work in big restaurants with big bills. Many of them are still struggling to make ends meet!

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Tips are always a part of the gross wages of waiters and waitresses. Quebec is the only province where their minimum wage is lower than the rest of the population. If part of the tip escaped the tax authorities in the past, the question has been settled for twenty-five years.

Today we want, instead of paying the income of the waiters and waitresses, to cover the inadequate salary of the kitchen staff, the employer himself?

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 culinary staff is now the norm.

However, the law prevents an employer from engaging. Because if tipped employees agree to share their tips with their colleagues in the dining room and kitchen, contracts are decided by the workers, and the company owner is less likely to impose its rules and take a financial dip. .

Daniel Boyer
President of the Quebec Labor Confederation (FTQ)

Carolyn Chenneville
President of Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN).

Colin Lefebvre-Bouchard
Head of Down the Ladder