Articles Posted in Fair Pay

deontae-wherryThe restaurant industry is known for stealing hard-earned tips from its employees. This practice has been going on for years, yet it continues to be a paramount issue in the industry. As a restaurant employee, you may have asked yourself the following question because you have seen it done time and time again: Can my manager take my tip? Am I obligated to pay for a walked tab? Do I have to share my tip with cooks? The answer to all of these questions is likely no.

Tips are the primary source of income for many employees in the restaurant industry. Thus, tipped employees heavily depend on these tips in order to live and provide for their families. Understanding the value of tips, both federal and state laws have been established to protect the wages for working employees.

In Texas, tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly received more than $20 per month in tips. These employees often include waiters/waitresses and bartenders. Generally speaking, cooks, dishwashers, and maintenance personnel are not considered tipped employees. Regardless if an employee receives tips, an employer must ensure that employees are paid the $7.25 minimum wage.

fadi-yousefLikely yes. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers (or their plan administrators) to notify qualified employees of their entitlement to the continuation of the same health coverage that they would have otherwise lost due to specific qualifying events, like a job loss. Failure to do so may expose the employer to statutory penalties of up to $110 per day, reimbursement of medical bills incurred by the employee, and the employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs.

COBRA requires temporary continuation coverage (usually 18 months) to be offered to covered employees, their spouses, former spouses, and dependent children (qualified beneficiaries) when group health coverage would otherwise be lost due to certain specific qualifying events. The two qualifying events that affect employees are (1) termination of employment for reasons other than gross misconduct, and (2) reduction in work hours.

To be entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage, you must have been enrolled in a group health plan that your employer offered, and the plan must be covered by COBRA. A plan is generally covered if it is maintained by a private employer with 20 or more employees, or by state or local governments. As stated earlier, there must also be a qualifying event that causes you to lose your health coverage (e.g., job loss or reduction in work hours).

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