Tipping is more than petty cash

TIPPING is still regarded as exploitative by many people. Some patrons believe this goodwill monetary reward peddles slave-master relations.

TIPPING is still regarded as exploitative by many people. Some patrons believe this goodwill monetary reward peddles slave-master relations.

Others feel that their payment of hotel accommodation charges must also cover extras such as porters and room service.

And honestly, no one can deny the heftiness of charges in hospitality establishments. Some bills even come with gratuity already charged. Indeed, staff providing these extras should be compensated by their employers. Unless, off course, one feels the service was so excellent it deserved a reward.

"This is a culture that began because of bigotry. Foreigners are favoured for this employment because of their learned submission and mild mannerisms," says Joelene Mlaba of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

"Because most staffers in the hospitality industry are foreign, countries have not felt the need to pay them decent living salaries to avoid the obligation of tipping. It's perpetrating slavery, whichever way you look at it," Mlaba says.

And since South African employers have systematically developed a mindset of keeping as much as possible for themselves, they do this by cheap labour practices to deprive those weaker than themselves. And in the end, the guilt is thrown at patrons who only propel the slave-master relationship by giving to the employees.

"It is a Catch 22 situation indeed. You are damned if you pay your 10 percent and damned if you don't," says Mlaba.

Information on local tipping:

l In restaurants and bars, 10percent is the accepted tipping standard. Tip porters from R20 upwards. It also depends on the weight of your bags.

l Parking attendants and security guards generally ask if they can watch your car while you do your business. If you agree, a tip of R2 and up should be offered, depending on the length of your stay.

l In South Africa, we still have the luxury of petrol attendants at filling stations to fill our vehicles with fuel, check oil, water, tyre pressure and clean windscreens. Tip from R2 up.

l Roadside newspaper vendors also deserve a little something. It's customary to give a few cents. Rounding off the cost of your newspaper should be sufficient.

l Some of the other service providers you may want to tip are taxi drivers, tour guides and assistants in hairdressers and beauty salons. If you need help to take your purchases from the supermarket to your car, show your gratitude with a monetary reward.

Basic Conditions of Employment in the hospitality sector:

On July 1 2007 deliberations of the labour minister regulating the hospitality industry and its workers and employees became law.

The Sectoral Determination for the Hospitality Sector No 14 amends the existing Basic Conditions of Employment Act 1997, but only with regard to a variety of businesses in the hospitality industry:

Affected business

These are hotels, motels, guesthouses, Bed & Breakfast s, backpackers, game lodges, self-catering apartments, timeshare accommodation , camping sites, restaurants, bars, pubs, taverns, beer gardens, fast food outlets, tea gardens and catering businesses.

Minimum wages

From July 1 2007 and ending on June 30 2008, workers and employees in businesses with up to 10 employees have to receive a minimum monthly wage of R1480, weekly R34160 or hourly R759 . As from July 1 2008 these minimums increase annually by 2percent above the consumer price index (CPX).

For businesses with more than 10 employees, the minimum remuneration for the initial period amounts to R1650 a month, R38080 a week or R846 an hour. Should the CPX in the years after the initial period be 10percent or higher, then the minimum increases annually only by the rate of this index.

If any employee also earns commissions, the minimum remunerations are considered to be net, excluding any commissions payable.

But whether you feel the need to tip or not, the people to consider for this practice are: waiters, bartenders, assistants at health and beauty spas, porters, drivers, pet groomers, parking attendants and hair stylists.