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County Council President Bud Otis

How generous are you?

(3/2017) As a people, weíd like to think we are generous, caring and have a good heart. When others serve you, how generous are you to them? So many times hard working servers do their very best to provide good service and are left with little or no tip and not even a "thank you". To me thatís sad and itís not reflective of how most folks feel about who they are themselves.

The servers make minimum wage, right? Well, yes and no. Tipped workers are paid $3.63 per hour in Frederick County. The employer is required by MD State Law to compensate the wait staff (or any tipped employee) to at least minimum wage, which is currently $8.75 per hour, $18,200 annually. So, on a not-so-good day, they take home minimum wage. Then come taxes, fees, and other deductions.

Enjoying a nice meal out with your family, your friends, co-workers, or just by yourself is a welcome experience. Sometimes getting out of the house, not having to prepare a meal, cook and cleanup is a real treat. So, after the meal is over, youíve had a nice time, itís time to express your appreciation to your waiter or waitress. When you tip generously it certainly helps them have a bit more money to take home.

How equal are tips on a credit card versus cash? Cash will go to the person directly. Credit card tips are calculated at the end of the shift and the employer may deduct the credit card processing fee portion from all tips. The employer may also hold tips until the weekly or bi-weekly paycheck.

Some restaurants may add a "mandatory service charge" on to bills for large tables of diners, private parties, or catered events. Under federal law and in most states, this isn't considered a tip. Even if you think that money is going to your server so you donít leave a tip on the table, the employer can keep any money designated as a "service charge." Many employers give at least part of these service charges to employees, but that's the employer's choice - employees have no legal right to that money. A couple of states have different rules, intended to make sure that customers know whether their money is going to the employer or the server. However, Maryland is not one of them.

I was stunned when doing this research about a year ago and itís changed how I tip, every time. The percentage is certainly up to each person, but I encourage you when possible to tip, tip with your heart, and in cash. It certainly helps the server, and this applies to all tipped wage earners.

I see generosity everywhere I travel from north to south, east to west in our wonderful Frederick County. I hope this little bit of information encourages you to consider cash tipping and even giving $1 or $2 more, or even a higher percentage to deserving servers.

Appreciation goes a long way, a simple thank you is very meaningful. A tip, helps show that gratitude one step further, and makes a bigger difference at the end of the day than you can imagine.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts.

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