A Pittsburgh restaurant won widespread praise this week after revealing that it would banish tips and start paying employees a salary and benefits instead.
The restaurant, Bar Marco, is giving its workers a base salary of $US35,000 as well as health-care benefits, 500 shares in the company, and paid vacation.
Csilla Thackray, who works in Bar Marco’s kitchen, estimates that the change will give her an additional $US400 in monthly income.
“It’s a huge increase,” she told Business Insider. “It means that I no longer have to live with that constant fear of running out of money.”
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $US7.25 an hour, and the minimum for tipped workers is $US2.83 an hour.
Thackray, 23, said the owners of Bar Marco have always treated employees well, but she and her coworkers never expected they would be given a salary or health-care benefits.
“No one was expecting this to happen,” she said. “When you decide to make this industry your life, you kind of expect you are going to make a financial sacrifice to pursue this passion. Now I’m getting to do what I’m passionate about and also getting rewarded fiscally.”
The new employment contracts say that employees will work a maximum of 40 to 44 hours a week and get two days and one night off a week. Employees will get 10 paid vacation days every year.
Bar Marco co-owner Bobby Fry said he and his partners began researching other payment options for employees last year.
“The lightbulb went off,” Fry told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “If we were going to offer health care, why not offer a complete employment contract, and do away with gratuity altogether?”
Fry said he won’t need to raise menu prices in order to make the change.
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