Bill seeks to let hotel, resto workers get service fees in full
MANILA, Philippines — More than 400,000 employees of hotels, restaurants and other private establishments across the country will soon fully benefit from the service fees paid by customers.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, on Tuesday said the bicameral committee had ironed out the differences in the versions of the House of Representatives and the Senate on the proposal to require businesses collecting a service charge to distribute the entire amount to their workers.
‘Injustice to workers’
Villanueva said that at present, only 85 percent of the service charge is given to rank-and-file employees while the rest goes to the management to cover “breakage and pilferage.”
“That has been the practice for quite a long time. It’s an injustice [to our workers],” he told reporters.
“We will end that [practice] today after both the House and [the] Senate agreed to give 100 percent of the service charge to our workers,” he said.
“If you collect service charge, as the name dictates, you should give it to the workers… because that is the payment for the service rendered by our workers,” he added.
Villanueva said the House version originally proposed to slightly increase the share of the workers to 90 percent, but the congressmen eventually agreed to adopt Senate Bill No. 1299, which the senator principally sponsored.
He said the final version of the measure would be submitted to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature after the House and the Senate had ratified it.
Villanueva said the approved measure amended Article 96 of the Marcos-era edict Labor Code of the Philippines, which allowed the collection of extra fees in the service sector such as restaurants, hotels, resorts and other similar establishments.
Once enacted into law, he said the measure would cover more than 27,000 hotels and restaurants all over the country.
Bigger than salary
Reporting the bill’s final version on the Senate floor, Villanueva said he realized the importance of distributing the collected service charge to waiters, cooks and service crews of restaurants when he served as director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
He said the share in the service charge of some personnel of hotels and restaurants was actually bigger than their monthly basic salary.
Villanueva stressed that the payment of additional service fees was intended to “commend an excellent service or as an outright goodwill to the service crew.”
“As customers, it is clear to us that when we pay service charge, our intention is toward those who served us,” he said.
“For our workers, if they work in conscious awareness of the possibility of gaining something more and above their basic salaries, will they not double their efforts, their customer care and their personal rapport with customers?” he said.
“On [the] business side, is it not their moral and ethical responsibility to honor the intentionality of the service charges given by customers to their employees? Employers certainly know the business benefit of having well-motivated employees,” he added.
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