Utah economy

Stop Stiffening, Start Tipping – The Daily Utah Chronicle

Brooklyn critchley

A tip jar in Salt Lake City, Utah on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 (Photo by Brooklyn Critchley | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

The early stages of the pandemic called for advertisements, thank you notes and free meals for essential workers. The big companies seemed overflowing with gratitude. In hindsight, it was grotesquely dishonest.

Service workers have been left in the dust without a pay rise, and now some people are tip workers less than before the pandemic started. Our government needs to change labor laws to fairly compensate tipped workers, but until that happens, you can make a difference by tipping.

The Utahns’ meager tipping habits, combined with state operating regulations, make it difficult for tipped workers to earn a living wage. Until that changes, employees are counting on your generosity.

Common tipping practices shift the blame from employers to employees. Under the guise of tips, employees are responsible for their own income, but in reality there are protocols that prevent workers from being paid fairly.

“Tip pooling” is often implemented in Utah, where tips are distributed among multiple staff members. This means that people are less motivated by tips and leaving a tip based on service quality is not effective.

Some restaurants have a “mandatory service charge,” which can easily be mistaken for a tip, but an employer can claim all of these charges. These regulations make it difficult for workers to reap the benefits of good service. The responsibility for earning a living wage still rests with the worker despite employers and legislators enforcing regulations that make it nearly impossible.

Employers continued to shift responsibility to their workers during the pandemic. Food service workers deemed “essential” risk their health every day to make ends meet. A study by Healthcare Research and Quality has shown that 60% of essential workers are at higher risk of severe COVID-19.

Many restaurants and bars in Utah have regained full capacity, but are understaffed, making prompt service difficult. The restaurant maintains a steady income, while the workers are overworked and struggling to receive decent tips. This is especially important because many servers are paid as low as $ 2.13 per hour and rely on tips as their primary source of income.

If the hourly wage and tips are less than the federal minimum wage of $ 7.25, the employer must make up the difference. Delivering exceptional service may not be enough to exceed $ 7.25 an hour, especially if you are hassled by customers. Even making $ 7.25 an hour, these essential workers are not making enough money to meet their basic needs.

The Utahns tip fewer than nearly every other state, according to a 2019 sample of data from MoneyPenny. “In Utah, people don’t tip very well. It’s a thing. It doesn’t seem like people are learning how to tip properly. A lot of people will round to the nearest dollar, ”said Tyler Saunders, a server in Salt Lake City.

The pandemic has also not improved tipping habits. Although many experts have called for an increase in tips, people are tipping less on average now than before the pandemic.

A survey by UC Berkeley showed that more than 80% of workers said their tips had gone down during the pandemic. In particular, there was a period at the start of the pandemic when people had a good turn. Customers have sympathized with essential workers – but empathy has only been built so far. Eventually the tips went down, probably because people were running out of money, but still went out to eat.

Empathy is a big factor in tipping habits. People with experience in the service industry tend to tip more. In contrast, well-to-do families in Utah may not have personal experience in service. As Utah’s economy steadily grows, so does the number of wealthy Utahns. According to Utah Business, millionaires make up 7.06% of Utah’s population, a figure higher than the national average. This high-income population may not sympathize with service workers and may be less inclined to leave generous tips.

Service workers rely on tips. It is your responsibility to understand the personal impact of your tip on your server. Customs such as take-out, delivery drivers, and digital tips have become the new normal, but the company has yet to set a point on when tips are needed. While these variations ultimately depend on your personal preferences, it’s important to consider that most tip workers rely on your tip, whether it’s a take-out or an on-site meal. . Tip experts generally recommend leaving 18-25%, especially during the pandemic. Tipping cash is ideal because credit cards often charge transaction fees that Utah law allows to deduct from the tip.

If you’ve waited twenty minutes for the waiter to take your order, consider the circumstances before reflecting the experience in your tip. If you want to reward outstanding work, add a little extra money. But given the impact frugal tips have on employees, there’s rarely a reason to cut a tip because of a bad experience. Systemic changes clearly need to be made to fairly compensate tipping workers, but until that happens, we all need to do our part. If you can’t afford the tip, you can’t afford the service.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion