On March 8, 2012, a bill (A2708) was introduced to the Assembly Labor Committee (and has since advanced to a second reading in the Assembly), which would substantially alter the laws governing the compensation of tipped workers in New Jersey. Most employees who rely on tips and gratuities are currently paid the federal minimum wage for tipped workers of $2.13 per hour. If signed into law, the bill would effectively require employers to pay their tipped workers at an hourly rate of at least $2.90 per hour starting on June 30, 2012 through June 30, 2013, and an hourly rate of at least $5.00 an hour from July 1, 2013 and beyond. The remainder of the employee’s compensation could continue to be comprised of tips or gratuities (received directly from patrons or pooled among co-workers), so long as the employee earns at least the current minimum wage required by state and federal law ($7.25 per hour, although two pending bills seek to increase that rate to $8.50 per hour). The bill also would require employers, for every pay period, to provide substantial evidence that the amount claimed for the credit of gratuities or tips was actually received by the employee and that no part of the amount claimed was returned to the employer. Finally, the bill requires that every employer must notify each employee for whom the employer claims the credit of gratuities or tips.
On January 25, 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that President Trump has appointed Victoria Lipnic to serve as the acting chair of the federal agency. Lipnic will take over for Jenny Yang, who has been the current chair since September of 2014.
Employers with employees traveling to and from China may want to take note that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on January 21, 2020, that the United States had confirmed its first case of a new strain of the coronavirus that appeared in Wuhan, China, last month. The virus has already sickened hundreds of people and is reported to have killed six, according to Chinese authorities.
New regulations issued by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) recently went into effect; but the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and other industry groups are challenging the regulations. The new regulations, which became effective May 5, 2011, made significant changes to tip credit regulations.