Report: restaurant workers see rise in wage thefts

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For restaurant workers, 2021 has been even worse than 2020, according to a new report released on Monday by labor rights group One Fair Wage.

More than 34% of workers who responded to a survey in early September reported more violations of their rights in 2021 compared to last year, according to the report. Almost 35% said their tips and extra wages did not bring them up to their state’s minimum wage; and almost half (47%) said they were not paid for overtime.

“We are seeing a real increase in workers’ rights violations in this industry,” said Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage, who appeared in a Facebook Live seminar on wage and hour protections hosted by the Department of Labor on Monday with US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.

Walsh, who was mayor of Boston before being confirmed as Secretary of Labor in March, reiterated his position that “restaurant workers are essential workers,” thanking them for their service and promising the department’s protection. . “You feed us. You feed our communities. You support our communities and you have enabled us to continue throughout the pandemic, ”he told the listeners of catering employees at the seminar.

The report, produced by One Fair Wage, was based on a survey of approximately 238 tip workers across the country from August 31 to September 14.

Overall, workers said tips have gone down and that sexual harassment and hostility from customers has worsened in 2021, according to the survey.

Three-quarters (75%) of tip workers said tipping had decreased and more than half (54%) reported an increase in hostility and harassment related to the application of COVID protocols.

And more than half of those surveyed (54%) say they have considered leaving the industry, and most (76%) blamed low wages and tips. But COVID safety concerns were also a factor (58%) as was hostility from customers (41%).

What would keep them going: 78% said full, stable, decent pay with extra tips, but 38% wanted overtime and 48% said paid sick time.

Better COVID safety protocols (34%), better health insurance (37%), and a less hostile work environment (37%) were also factors that would keep workers in the industry.

One Fair Wage has long advocated for higher wages and the elimination of tip credit, and the group has also highlighted other issues exacerbated by the pandemic, including sexual harassment and hostility from customers over concerns safety protocols, such as wearing masks or proof of vaccination. .

But data from more neutral sources also supports the perception of worker abuse as a factor in the ongoing labor crisis.

And reports say Indoor workers across the country are finding it increasingly difficult to enforce vaccines and masks when clients refuse to comply.

According to the One Fair Wage survey, 30% of those polled said they were reluctant to apply COVID security protocols this year for fear that customers would tip less, and 31% said unwanted sexualized comments from customers had increased.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout


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