Quebec won't introduce tip-sharing mechanism sought by restaurant owners

Labour minister prepared to study the matter, however
||Last Updated: 05/22/2018
A restaurant in Vieux-Port (Old Port) in Montreal, Quebec. REUTERS/Jumana El Heloueh

MONTREAL (CP) -- The Quebec government is nixing a proposal by restaurant owners to have a tip-pooling clause added to the province's labour code to address a considerable wage gap among their employees.

The association representing the restaurant owners made the request earlier this week, citing an income discrepancy between servers and kitchen workers.

As it stands, only waiters receiving tips decide if and how they are divided.

The association conducted a survey last year that suggests wait staff make roughly $27 per hour versus about $16 for kitchen staff.

But Labour Minister Dominique Vien told a legislature hearing this week the tip-sharing request is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Vien says she's prepared to have owners and staff representatives sit down to study the matter further with her department staff.

The hearing into revisions of the province's labour standards act continue until May 29.

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Comments (1)

Tip sharing - Norman Birman05/22/2018 3:31:41 PMWhy do restaurant workers get paid less than minimum wage? Because they get tips, silly. Why do unionized workers get paid these outrageous salaries and pensions? Because they are unionized, silly. So you want to share tips do you? I make the sale, I get the commission. The restaurant is a business. It does not share its profits with its employees. Just as the employees are not responsible for poor management. So tell you what. Make minimum wage $20 an hour. If the restaurant can’t make it, then close. The only way restaurants make a profit today is off the backs of slave labour. What is slave labour? Someone who does not get paid a living wage. Yet is expected to assume the expenses of going to work. You know like eating, having a place to sleep, transportation to and from work, to name a few. Hey, the employer is not responsible for that, right.
You stated “The ‘tipping-as-a-salary’ model is outdated and should be abolished." Let’s turn the restaurant into a real business. In a real business, the salesperson (waiter, as one is called in a restaurant) makes the sale. If there are no sales, then there is no commission. All other workers get a salary. Margins are tight in the restaurant business because they have turned what everyone should be doing for themselves into a business expecting to charge people not much more than what they would have paid to take the time to go shopping and prepare the food for themselves.
Successful restaurants can be extremely profitable. Really, name them. There are restaurant with a higher than average priced menu because they serve real food and give service of true value. They befriend their customers and even know them by name. The rest are impersonal chains that depend on taking the most amount of money from the most amount of people in the least amount of time. You can’t get to know anyone there because they are not geared to provide a career based environment. You said it yourself. Restaurant owners treat kitchen staff as expendable and replaceable. What a nice way of saying restaurant owners threat their staff as slaves. Again you said yourself, that the entire industry violates the Normes du travail and the loi sur la Santé et Sécurité au Travail.
The bottom line is, there are too many restaurant out there. You would think that no one eats at home.
Know the future before it passes.