Waiters, cooks & dishwashers up in arms over repeal of service charge fee
December 21, 2019
QUEZON CITY –
Workers group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the
Philippines (ALU-TUCP) score a recent move of some business owners
to repeal the collection of the service charge fee being enjoyed by
all contractual and rank-and-file employees in restaurant, hotel and
other service-oriented enterprises.
The management move came
after the law on service charge fee collection was amended by
Republic Act 11360 otherwise known as An Act Providing That Services
Charges Collected by Hotels, Restaurants, and Other Similar
Establishments Be Distributed in Full to All Covered Employees. The
law was enacted by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.
Before the amendment, 85%
of the service charge collected by establishments would be
distributed to employees while the 15% are collected for management
discretion for losses and breakages.
Reduction of benefits
“The repeal of some
restaurants, hotels and service-oriented business enterprises of the
service charge benefit is not in the intention of the revised
service charge law. The revised Service Charge Law of 2019 which was
approved by President Duterte last month turns over 100% of the
service fees to all rank-and-file employees does not mandate or
obligates employers and business-owners to discourage them from
adopting the scheme or to rescind the practice altogether. This is
not the intention of the law. Rather, the intention of the law is to
improve the quality of service of businesses by incentivizing and
empowering the best efforts of the employees and improve the
workplace working conditions,” said ALU-TUCP National Executive Vice
President Gerard Seno.
Negatively impacted by the
move are service industry workers including waiters, cooks,
dishwashers, bartenders, customer assistants in restaurants. Other
service industry workers affected are those working in gasoline
stations, hotels, rest and recreation, and tourism.
DOLE must cure & correct
The group said the
management move clearly breaches the country’s numerous judicial
jurisprudence on principles of non-diminution of benefits of workers
particularly the non-wage benefits already been enjoyed by the
“In behalf of the working
people and before the reduction escalate industry-wide, we therefore
call on the DOLE to make the corrective measure and make immediate
steps to cure this diminution of benefit among rank and file
employees. We urge the DOLE to issue a supplementary corrective
administrative order which cures this reduction of benefit and
encourages business owners to retain and adopt the scheme that both
improves the brand of service of the business and compensate the
service the employees has rendered,” Seno said.
ALU-TUCP spokesperson and
advocacy officer Alan Tanjusay said some of these employees have
approached them in person and through social media seeking
assistance are furious over the development.
“The management's repeal
of collection of the service charge fee will create tension in the
workplace and hurt the relationship between employees and their
bosses. It will certainly cause demoralization among the working
force and impact on employee's productivity which will surely yield
poor employees' output and adversely affects the unique quality
brand of service that customers look for in the establishments.
Thus, the repeal of collection of service charge fees constitute a
diminution of benefit,” Tanjusay said.
Service charge augment
According to the group,
the service charge fee substantially helps take home pay of
service-oriented industry workers.
“Since the country’s
standard minimum wage rate is small and inadequate, management,
business-owners must understand that lowly-paid waiters, cooks,
dishwashers, order-takers and customer assistants and all other
service industry workers look forward to the service charge
collection because it substantially augment their take home pay. If
this is remove, workers are in low morale,” Tanjusay said.