Parkland Press

Saturday, December 14, 2019

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Thursday, July 4, 2013 by STATE REP. JULIE HARHART, R-183th Special to The Press in Opinion

Harhart proposes bill to protect waitstaff

People who are employed in the service industry, especially waiters and waitresses, work hard for the small base pay and tips they rely on for income.

That is why I have authored legislation to ensure they are treated fairly when it comes to those hard-earned tips.

Currently, in Pennsylvania, when customers choose to pay their bill with a credit card, it is common practice for credit card companies to charge business owners a 3-percent to 4-percent fee per transaction.

Apparently, some employers pass this fee onto wait staff by taking the fee out of the tip customers left them on their credit card slip.

I have authored legislation to prohibit this practice, thereby ensuring restaurant servers receive the tip in its entirety.

The idea for this legislation was brought to me by a constituent who works as a waitress.

This constituent earns a base pay of $2.83 per hour plus tips, as most servers do.

In many instances, customers pay their bill with a credit card, and therefore, the server's tips are negatively impacted.

Quite frankly, I was surprised to hear about this practice and I was equally surprised to find there is no law prohibiting this type of deduction.

My legislation, known as the Gratuities Credit Card Fee Protection Act, would prohibit credit card companies from assessing a transaction fee on the gratuity portion of a bill, thereby protecting waiters and waitresses from being assessed a fee against their tips.

Deducting credit card transaction fees from the tips of employees working in gratuity-dependent jobs is simply wrong.

I am hopeful my legislation will shed light on this practice and bring it to an end.

House Bill 1395 is currently before the House Labor and Industry Committee, where I have received a commitment from the chairman to hold a public hearing on the legislation with the expectation that it will receive a committee vote when session resumes in the fall.

For more information on this legislation or any other state-related issues, please feel free to contact my offices in Slatington at 610-760-9805 or Northampton at 610-502-2704, visit my website at JulieHarhart.com or follow me on Facebook at Facebook.com/RepHarhart.