Eateries must pay waitering staff basic wage (patrons not obliged to tip)

As we head into the festive season and people head to restaurants, The Kieno Kammies Show asks is tipping the right way to earn a living or not?

Kieno Kammies speaks to consumer journalist Wendy Knowler to find out how it all should work. There are a number of jobs that are affected in this way, but waitering seems most prevalent.

"It is the one area we most come into contact with where people mostly earn tips."

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

While many staff depend often entirely on gratuities to earn their living, Knowler says this is not legal.

The employers, the owners of the cafes and restaurants, are obliged to pay them a certain minimum wage'

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Technically it is not up to us patrons to ensure they go home at night having earned something.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

She says it is legislated in the sectoral determination act which covers hospitality industry workers. Unfortunately, she says not much has changed in practice and waitering staff bank on tips to survive.

We are not obliged to pay tips at all.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Sometimes owners of these eateries are adding a service fee on top of an already built in service fee. She says there are issues around disclosure in South Africa and customers are not obliged to pay.

Listen to this consumer journalist explaining waitering staff and patrons rights when it comes to the issue of tipping:

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