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 MurrayVA senior adviser forced out amid concerns that he was 'getting paid to sit on his couch': report The Year Ahead: Drug pricing efforts to test bipartisanship Overnight Health Care: Manchin pitched Trump on reviving bipartisan ObamaCare fix | 4 in 10 don’t plan to get flu shots | Survey finds more than a quarter have pre-existing conditions MORE (D-Wash.) reached the deal with Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaRene (Alex) Alexander AcostaSasse calls on DOJ to investigate its handling of wealthy sex offender's plea deal Accusers won't testify for now against wealthy sex offender: report Lawmakers call for investigation into Labor Secretary Acosta for sex offender plea deal 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 TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time 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 MulvaneyTrump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Schiff writes mock White House chief of staff job description Trump: 'No rush' to pick next chief of staff 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 ScottOvernight Health Care: House set to vote on bill targeting drug companies for overcharging Medicaid | Dems press Trump officials on pre-existing conditions | Tobacco giant invests .8B in Canadian marijuana grower A new Congress, time for a new focus on public education Top Dems press Trump officials for answers on pre-existing conditions MORE (D-Va.) and Reps. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonIlhan Omar calls her election to Congress a rejection of ‘religious bigotry’ Minnesota New Members 2019 White candidates are never asked how they win minority-majority districts, says first Muslim congresswoman-elect MORE (D-Minn.), Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoBipartisan lawmakers call for investigation into VA amid issues with GI Bill benefit payments Dems aim to balance oversight, bipartisanship on VA committee Reporter tops lawmakers to win charity spelling bee 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.