Bill Under Consideration Could Impact Restaurant Workers

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Panama City- A new bill under consideration in the Florida Senate could give a boost to local restaurants, but critics say that boost will come at the expense of employees who work for tips.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association lobbied to the senate to consider this bill.

It includes an option for restaurants to cut tipped workers’ minimum wages in half.

The cuts proposed in the bill have a lot of employees concerned, saying they’re already impacted by the bad economy.

“I have between 20 and 40 dollars a day less. If people are making less money, they’re not going to spend as much money,” said Alexis Archer, a server in Panama City Beach.

The legislation would give employers the option to lower tipped workers’ minimum wage from the state standard of $4.65 an hour to $2.13.

“If you have sixty servers working for you, like we do, and every one of them went up a dollar per hour just a year ago, and then another 30 cents and another 50 cents, it’s really impacting us,” said Jack Bishop a restaurant owner in Panama City Beach.

The bill is aimed at helping keep restaurants afloat during these troubled times, but not all workers agree with the idea saying the extra guaranteed two dollars per hour, make a difference.

“It’s an extra 300-400 dollars a month just from the paycheck. If it was to drop, that’d definitely be a big impact on it,” said Archer.

The idea is for workers to make at least an average of $9.98 an hour.
If workers make more, they could have their hourly pay cut.
Those that make less, could receive a little more.

“The bill is really to hold it steady. It’s not so much to roll back the clock as much as it is to hold it so that we don’t have this appreciation every year,” said Bishop.

This bill still has to go to the full senate for a vote and the house does not have a companion bill under consideration.

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