Contact: Ryan Wallace
William Oliver’s Publick House
2608 S. Timberline Rd #108
Fort Collins, CO 80525
For Immediate Release
William Oliver’s tipping policy to be changed again.
Fort Collins, CO, January 1, 2017: William Oliver’s is removing the “no tipping” policy that has been in place since September 2015 in favor of what is being called a hybrid-tipped-employee model. The change is effective starting January 1st, 2017, and does not impact other benefits currently offered which are; paid-time-off, matching 401k retirement plan, health benefits, life insurance, and bonuses.
With the passage of Amendment 70, minimum wage is set to increase 44% by 2020 (or 70% for tipped employees). William Oliver’s has never paid minimum wage but always uses it as a “measuring stick” to know if the base wages are good. Every time there has been an increase in minimum wage, William Oliver’s has offered a comparable increase to its employees, even though they are already paid above the minimum threshold. William Oliver’s is unable to provide a comparable increase in 2017, which will result in an effective pay decrease because comparative buying power is diminished.
“When amendment 70 goes into effect our employees will effectively receive a pay decrease if we do not raise their wages. Do to increased premiums and payroll taxes, we simply cannot afford to raise our employee salaries any more than we already have. The only way for them to retain high wages will be through a tipping-model”, said Ryan Wallace, owner of William Oliver’s.
An increase to hourly pay comes with higher payroll taxes and increased workers compensation insurance premiums. When William Oliver’s removed tipping the increased insurance premiums and payroll taxes cost the business an additional $25,000 annually (approximately), not counting the increase in payroll itself. Any additional increase to employee wages cannot be achieved if associated costs will increase similarly again. Additionally, by switching to a no-tipping model the business lost the IRC 45 B federal tax credit.
William Oliver’s attempted to address these issues in June of 2016 with the Governor of Colorado; however, the request for a meeting was not granted. “We were hoping that being early-adopters of a program to provide living wages would mean the government would seek out our advice; to learn from the hurdles we had already jumped. However, the response received from the Governor’s office made it clear that they were not interested in having an engaged discussion”, said Wallace.
Employees at William Oliver’s will still receive wages higher than the minimum; however, adopting a hybrid model will ensure a quality of life commensurate with the current levels. The hybrid-model, which provides well-rounded benefits and higher-than-minimum wages for all full-time employees, is still relatively unique in the food and drink industry.
“The no-tipping model was a good run and one I am very proud we attempted”, said Wallace, “and we hope it is something we can return to in time once the government has had a chance to better understand the impacts to small businesses. However, the additional costs associated with insurance and taxes are already high. Taking care of our employees is our most important goal, but the business cannot pay them higher than current wages without a modification to existing rules and regulations.”