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Bill would affect pay for servers and bartenders

Cindy Berg remembers the days when she could pay all her bills from restaurant tips.

Those days are long gone, said Berg, who has been a server for about 20 years. Tips dropped off when the economy tanked.

That's why Berg was outraged when she learned this week that Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would knock back her current wage of $4.65 an hour to $2.13.

"That's ridiculous," said the 47-year-old, who works at an Italian restaurant in St. Pete Beach. "There was a time where as a server that was the best job you could have. … The money is just getting worse and worse and worse, every season."

Under Senate Bill 2106, approved Thursday in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee, employers would have another option for how they pay tipped employees.

Currently, tipped employees in Florida are paid with this formula: The state sets a total minimum wage, which must keep pace with the cost of living and is currently $7.67 an hour. From that number, employers subtract a $3.02 "tip credit," a flat amount written into a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2004. The difference — $4.65 an hour — becomes what the restaurant pays the employee no matter the tips.

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Doesn't sound at all fair to me. The employer has absolutely no right to claim any part of a customer's tip as part of the employers wage to his employee. That's one of the most ridiculus ideas I've every heard of.
What a employee earns as a tip, she earned not from her employer but her customer. The customer in no way shape or form takes away from the employer's income by giving a tip to the employee. Nor did the employer give the customer any merchandise or service that the customer must pay a tip, or fee. But this law says that the employer is entitled to being included in the monetary transaction between server and customer.
I think it's inherently wrong. Bad legislation. How does an employee's tip take anything away from the employer?

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