Philadelphia Labor Lawyers Support Better Wages for Restaurant Servers
While it is standard operation for diners to tip at restaurants, Girard Brasserie and Bruncherie in Philadelphia, PA boldly states on their bills “Tipping is not necessary." Amidst the ongoing battle for a higher minimum wage, many Philadelphia labor lawyers aid employees to earn a fair income.
Co-owner of Girard, Brian Oliveira, stated that it isn’t always easy to offer his employees $13 an hour, sick time, vacation days and health insurance. “We had to make less money as owners and sacrifice some of that, but in the end, it created a better environment and everyone's happier," said Oliveira, who is also the chef.
Generally speaking concerning Philadelphia restaurants, “the federal hourly minimum wage for non-tipped workers, such as dishwashers and cooks, is $7.25; the minimum for tipped workers like waiters and bartenders is $2.13. Paid time off and medical benefits are almost unheard of in the high-turnover business,” stated Kathy Matheson of the Associated Press. “The state minimum for tipped employees in Pennsylvania is $2.83 hourly. After taking tips into account, that translates into a median wage of $8.25 an hour, or just over $17,000 per year for a full-time employee.”
So how does the management at Girard financially make up for this new model of doing away with tips? On their printed materials such as the menu and checks, they explain that the “dishes are priced accordingly" to provide staff with higher wages and benefits. For example, a fixed price, three-course dinner ranges from $31 to $42.
Like many metropolis cities, Philadelphia has long been in a struggle to increase its minimum wage. Just last November a small crowd of activists gathered in front of Philadelphia’s City Hall to demand that City Council raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour. “15 Now is in many cities across the country with similar [situations], but Philadelphia had the preemption with the vaguest language,” says Philadelphia 15 Now organizer Kate Goodman. “We think we could win here and set a precedent for other places. There are 17 [other cities with 15 Now campaigns] with similar preemptions, although ours seems the most vulnerable.”
Labor laws and employee rights can cause a myriad of confusion for both management and the workers seeking fair wages. Fortunately, those businesses in Philadelphia who need legal advice can find guidance with the help of innovators like UpCounsel, who makes it easy and affordable for businesses to get quality legal services by leading Philadelphia lawyers on-demand. These businesses are able to connect with labor lawyers in a virtual marketplace compiled of thousands of lawyers located all over the United States.
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While Girard’s new business model is still in its experimental stage, it will be interesting to see how many other companies follow suit. One of the waitresses at Girard, Katie Breen, said she's been able to work almost full-time as the restaurant's business has increased. “I have a better schedule, I have health insurance," Breen said. “I think that this is the best job that I have ever had."
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