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Spending bill prevents employers from pocketing tips under tip-pooling rule

Spending bill prevents employers from pocketing tips under tip-pooling rule
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The $1.3 trillion spending deal released late Wednesday night includes language to prevent employers from being able to steal workers’ tips under the Labor Department’s controversial tip-pooling rule.

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.) reached the deal with Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaRene (Alex) Alexander AcostaTrump faces new decision on second most powerful court How private sector can fight opioid epidemic Federal mine safety official accused Trump of illegally putting miners in danger MORE to add a rider in the bill that amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to prevent employers, managers or supervisors from pocketing workers’ tips regardless of whether they earn gratuities on top of a full minimum wage.

The language gives workers the right to sue to recover any stolen tips with added damages and gives the secretary of Labor the ability to impose civil penalties on employers who violate the law.

“When President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Gillum and DeSantis’s first debate GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Gorbachev calls Trump's withdrawal from arms treaty 'a mistake' MORE proposed a rule that would have allowed corporations to pocket workers’ tips for themselves, workers across the country organized and made their voices heard,” Murray said in a statement.

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“Those workers sent the Trump Administration a message — and I’m pleased that Secretary Acosta listened, reversed course, and worked with me on legislation to make sure that big businesses can’t steal their workers’ tips. For the millions of workers who rely on their tips to pay their bills and support their families, most of whom are women, this change comes as a sigh of relief,” she said.

Acosta has been under fire since the rule was first proposed in December to allow employers to pool the tips of workers who make the full minimum wage and split them with nontipped workers.

The rule does not apply to workers who make less than a full minimum wage and use tips to supplement their pay, but labor groups said there was nothing in the regulation to stop employers from pocketing a portion of employees’ tips.

A Bloomberg Law report later revealed agency officials had withheld an unfavorable report that showed workers stand to lose billions in gratuities if the rule is finalized.

Democrats, labor groups and 17 state attorneys general have since demanded Acosta withdraw the rule.

And in a second report Wednesday morning, Bloomberg Law reported that Acosta convinced Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit Consumer bureau to probe top Trump official's past racial comments On The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race MORE to overrule the nation’s regulatory czar to release the rule.

OMB fired back against that report Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement to The Hill, office spokesman Coalter Baker said OMB historically does not comment on the deliberative process, but is making an exception in this case.

"We will make an exception now, as the premise of this reporting is false: there is zero daylight between Director Mulvaney and [Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs] Administrator [Neomi] Rao on regulatory policy," he said. 

Top Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee said Wednesday they will be requesting a hearing to examine the department's conduct and Acosta’s role in this controversy.

“This latest report from Bloomberg Law that Labor Secretary Acosta urged OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to exclude a legally required analysis only intensifies existing concerns about the integrity of the rulemaking process for its proposed rule to allow employers to keep and control how to redistribute workers' tips,” Committee ranking member Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDems want to hold officials’ feet to the fire on ObamaCare Healthy business vs healthy people — how will this administration address the two? Washington turns focus to child nutrition MORE (D-Va.) and Reps. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonGOP lawmaker once belittled sexual harassment: 'How traumatizing was it?' Dershowitz: Obama, Ellison have 'special obligation' to condemn Farrakhan Ellison accuses ex-wife of physical abuse, divorce records show: report MORE (D-Minn.), Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoReporter tops lawmakers to win charity spelling bee House panel advances major VA reform bill Spending bill prevents employers from pocketing tips under tip-pooling rule MORE (D-Calif.) and Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne Marie BonamiciReporter tops lawmakers to win charity spelling bee Lawmakers, media serve up laughs at annual 'Will on the Hill' Congress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer MORE (D-Ore.) said in a joint statement.