They are collecting 10% tips on take-out food
SANTO DOMINGO. In spite of the fact that the Labor Code establishes that the 10% of the value of the purchase should be charged to the clients when they consume the products in the same establishment, many restaurants and fast food places are charging this percentage to the consumers who order take-out.
This practice, although it has nothing to do with resources that go directly the tax collector, means another tax for consumers, in addition to the 18% of the Tax on the Transfer of Goods and Services (ITBIS), which is increasing, in an illegal manner, by 10% the invoices of the clients that for one reason or another ask for take-out.
A worker who lives alone, whose name shall be omitted, said that she prefers to buy cooked food in order to eat it later in her house or on the job, but she said that she feels cheated each time she notes that on the invoice of the establishments where she acquires her food to take out, there is a 10% tip without using the services of a table.
“All the years that I have worked here the invoices are normal; it doesn’t have any difference if it is to be taken out or be eaten here. I have worked here for two years, and I’ve never had any problem with this,” said the manager of one of the most popular international fast food franchises that operate in the Dominican Republic.
Along the same line, the owner himself of a famous establishment which specializes in sandwiches reported that the 10% tip that is established by the Labor Code is only charged to clients which consume in the place, but after the installation of the tax printers which was ordered by the Director General of Internal Taxes (DGI I) all the clients are invoiced with this percentage.
Likewise, Orquidia Nuñez, from the Department of Supervision of the DGI I in Herrera, said that it is legal for the establishments that sell food to collect the 10% tip, although the clients ask for take-out.
“By policy they have to collect the 10% without discrimination on the invoices, because some personnel serve although it is not… let’s say that the person who is selling is the local merchant, let’s say the restaurant, but the person who is expending the food is an employee, you understand, then through the effort of expending by the employee they get to collect the tip, even though you go outside to eat in the street,” noted Nuñez.
At the same time the executive director of the National Institute for the Protection of Consumer Rights (Proconsumidor), Altagracia Paulino, said that in response to several complaints by consumers, her agency has requested the Ministry of Labor to issue a resolution in which it specifies just who should pay this percentage, because when this tip was contemplated in the Labor Code there were practically no delivery services.
“The people indicated to regulate this are at the Ministry of Labor. There is a legal vacuum in this sense, because what regulates the tax here is the Labor Code, and the Labor Code was written in 1992, and in 1992 there did not exist the type of services that exist today,” she explained.
Paulino said that as long as the situation is not resolved the consumers are unprotected, because it is not up to Proconsumidor to go in defense of those who are prejudiced by this charge.
“Since I have been here we are trying to get the Ministry of Labor to resolve this,” indicated the director of Proconsumidor, who has been on the job for five years, and she said that this situation worries her, because she knows that it is affecting the consumers.
In addition it is a fact that many of the establishments, which charge of this percentage of a tip to all of their clients, do not give the proper destination to these resources, since back in 2011, according to the then Minister of Labor, Francisco Dominguez Brito, there were around 200,000 workers affected by the improper practice of not distributing the tips among the employees that offer services at the places that serve food.
Also in 2011, the Chamber of Deputies was given a legislative proposal that sought to eliminate the obligatory charge of 10% established in the Labor Code, to the consumption of food and beverages in hotels, restaurants, cafés, bars, etc., but the legislation ran out of time and it has not been reintroduced.
What they Labor Code says
Article 228 of the Labor Code says: “in the hotels, restaurants, cafés, bars and in general, in the commercial establishments where food and beverage is expended for the consumption on the same premises, it is obligatory for the employer to add 10% for the concept of a tip on the notes or accounts of the clients, or some other way which satisfies this requirement, so that this can be distributed completely among the workers that have provided service.”
Category: DR News |