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The Villages
Saturday, May 8, 2021

Get the facts right on server shortages at restaurants

To the Editor:

Stop with the false narrative and do responsible reporting.
The problem is not too much unemployment wage, the problem is too little federal and state minimum wage for servers specifically.
The Florida minimum wage specifically for servers was just raised in January 2021 to $5.63 cents per hour. That’s $225.20 on a 40-hour week.
Since most restaurants are still not operating at 100 percent capacity or hours, then servers are not going to make the same amount of tips that they normally would to add to their minimum wages.
So yes, when they are faced with the choice of unemployment wages of $300/week versus being paid a minimum wage of $225 they do what any responsible person would do and take the higher rate.
I wonder if the restaurant owners would make the same complaint if employees were telling them they’re going to work for another restaurant that pays them $300/wk without tips – which also means they don’t have to worry about not getting tips from people who are too cheap to pay (appropriate) tips.
I think not, owners are only complaining because the “competition” is the government who they can lobby to (and fund their PACs).
Maybe they should use the PPP dollars to offer their servers $300 per week to return to work, payable until business returns to 100 percent capacity.
Maybe they should pay their servers the minimum regular wage of $8.56/hour instead of starvation wage of $5.63 – which would only be $342.40 a week.
Maybe they should do like most other businesses and ask the servers how much they want to return to work and negotiate to a mutually agreeable rate.
I see many restaurants that are back up and running and do not appear to be short staffed based on the service I received.
The law says these are MINIMUM wages, not “all you are allowed to pay” wages. These restaurant owners should be responsible for their business including “competitive” wages no matter who they are competing with.

Brenda Davis

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