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Woman Notices An “Employee Health” Charge On Her Bill, Learns She’s Paying For Staff’s Healthcare And Is Majorly Confused
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Woman Notices An “Employee Health” Charge On Her Bill, Learns She’s Paying For Staff’s Healthcare And Is Majorly Confused

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You’ve finished a delicious meal at a local restaurant you love. You’ve paid the check. You’re signing the tip, but that’s when you notice something extremely odd—there’s a small additional charge that reads ‘employee health.’

And that’s… what pays for the employees’ healthcare in some places. Just like us and many others, you’re probably really confused. As was Ashley Nicole, @ashnichole_xo, the co-founder of Parallel Apparel and the founder of the Unsolicited Advice podcast. She filmed a video where she explained the situation and asked people whether this type of charge was normal. Scroll down to watch Ashley’s TikTok in full and look at how different people reacted to the news.

Bored Panda has reached out to Ashley via email and we’ll update the article as soon as we hear back from her.

More info: TikTok | Instagram | Podcast | YouTube | Linktree

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Ashley Nicole went viral on TikTok after a peculiar experience at a restaurant

Image credits: ashnichole_xo

The woman noticed something odd on her bill

“The weirdest thing just happened to me. It’s cold and it’s rainy in LA, so me and my bestie decided to go out to dinner. We go to one of my favorite restaurants. This is the Osteria La Buca. It is an Italian restaurant here in LA and I’ve been to multiple times. We enjoy our meal. We get the check, we pay for our check, and as we are like signing the tip and stuff, we notice something.”

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Image credits: ashnichole_xo

Image credits: Louis Hansel (not the actual photo)

She was confused by what the ’employee health’ charge was supposed to mean

“Here’s the receipt, and if you notice down here towards the bottom, there is a $4 and 75 cent charge for employee health. Do you see that, a 5% charge for employee health? My immediate thought was, ‘What is employee health? What does that mean?’ We run through a couple of options and I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m just gonna ask.'”

Image credits: ashnichole_xo

She asked one of the employees about it on her way out

“So as we’re like walking out, I go up to the hostess and I’m like, ‘Hey, quick question, just curious. I saw that you guys charged us $5 each, not total for the table, each – both of us, for employee health. And I just had to ask like, what is that?’ And she goes, ‘Oh, that’s our healthcare.’ And my reaction was, ‘Your healthcare?’ And she goes, ‘Yes, our healthcare.'”

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Image credits: ashnichole_xo

The woman wondered if this was normal and asked others to share their experiences

“I’ve never heard of that before, ever. And I had to find out – is that normal and have I been living under a rock? Is it a normal thing or is this weird because I’ve never experienced this before and it feels weird, but maybe this is normal elsewhere. Let me know ’cause I’ve never seen this before.”

Image credits: Andrea Piacquadio (not the actual photo)

You can watch Ashley’s full viral TikTok right over here

@ashnichole_xo Is this normal?? #greenscreen #receipt #employeehealth #restaurant ♬ original sound – Ashley Nichole

It feels very bizarre to expect the customers to pay for the employees’ healthcare

Healthcare and tipping culture are some of the most sensitive topics in the United States. Add the two together and you have something incredibly nuanced. Ashley’s video got a million views, was liked over 94k times on TikTok and got more than 15.4k comments, as people shared their thoughts about the ‘employee health’ tip charge on the receipt.

Taking a step back and looking at things objectively, it feels outright bizarre (and a bit dystopian) to expect the customers to foot the bill for someone’s employee’s healthcare costs. The company employing ought to do that.

This situation highlights the problem with tipping culture in the US as a whole, too. Moving to fairer employment contracts, stable wages, and healthcare coverage seems the obvious thing to do as well. That is if your goal is to motivate your workers and give them access to basic benefits. Or, in short, why should the customers take on the employers’ responsibilities?

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Speaking to BuzzFeed, Ashley said that she thought it was a mistake when she first saw the charge on the receipt. “This was my first time ever seeing anything like this. Once I asked the hostess to clarify what the charge was, I was simply confused why I was the one paying for the healthcare of my server,” she said. “The overwhelming response was that most people hadn’t seen anything like it.”

The healthcare system in the US is very wasteful

The thing is that even if every single employer paid for their workers’ healthcare, the system would still need to be reformed. As things stand, healthcare in the US is incredibly inefficient and a lot of money is wasted on administrative costs.

According to Investopedia, the US spends roughly 8% of every single healthcare dollar on administrative costs. Meanwhile, hospitals practice so-called defensive medicine where they order lots of costly tests in order to prevent potential lawsuits. So while a CT scan might cost below a hundred bucks in Canada and five times as much in Australia, the average cost in the US is $896.

The very same MRI scan that costs $450 in the United Kingdom would cost three times as much in the US. In brief, medical procedures are simply very expensive in the Land of the Free, especially when compared to other thriving, developed nations.

Without beating around the bush, service providers charge what they think they can get away with (aka “what the market will bear”). A possible solution to this could be to have more governmental oversight and have specific prices for procedures.

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Tipping culture is very problematic as well

It’s not just healthcare that should ideally be overhauled. Tipping culture as a whole raises a lot of questions. For instance, The New York Times looked at how “in all but eight states,” employers can choose to pay their tipped employees subminimum wages (as low as $2.13 per hour). This is allowed, so long as the tips they earn let them make up the difference and ‘get to’ minimum wage. Around 5.5 million workers are paid according to this ‘tip credit’ system.

This is problematic because there’s a lot of space for abuse at the workers’ expense. One bartender from Cleveland told the NYT that he’s never seen anyone who’s ever been compensated if they earned below-minimum amounts. It’s extremely difficult to get the money that your employer owes you, even if you’re well within your rights. There are plans to ban subminimum pay and focus on decent minimum wages in some states, however. How widely this will spread remains to be seen.

People had various opinions about the ’employee health’ charge. Here’s what some of them thought

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Jonas Grinevičius

Jonas Grinevičius

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Read more »

Storytelling, journalism, and art are a core part of who I am. I've been writing and drawing ever since I could walk—there is nothing else I'd rather do. My formal education, however, is focused on politics, philosophy, and economics because I've always been curious about the gap between the ideal and the real. At work, I'm a Senior Writer and I cover a broad range of topics that I'm passionate about: from psychology and changes in work culture to healthy living, relationships, and design. In my spare time, I'm an avid hiker and reader, enjoy writing short stories, and love to doodle. I thrive when I'm outdoors, going on small adventures in nature. However, you can also find me enjoying a big mug of coffee with a good book (or ten) and entertaining friends with fantasy tabletop games and sci-fi movies.

Read less »
Jonas Grinevičius

Jonas Grinevičius

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Storytelling, journalism, and art are a core part of who I am. I've been writing and drawing ever since I could walk—there is nothing else I'd rather do. My formal education, however, is focused on politics, philosophy, and economics because I've always been curious about the gap between the ideal and the real. At work, I'm a Senior Writer and I cover a broad range of topics that I'm passionate about: from psychology and changes in work culture to healthy living, relationships, and design. In my spare time, I'm an avid hiker and reader, enjoy writing short stories, and love to doodle. I thrive when I'm outdoors, going on small adventures in nature. However, you can also find me enjoying a big mug of coffee with a good book (or ten) and entertaining friends with fantasy tabletop games and sci-fi movies.

Mindaugas Balčiauskas

Mindaugas Balčiauskas

Author, BoredPanda staff

Read more »

I'm a visual editor at Bored Panda. I kickstart my day with a mug of coffee bigger than my head, ready to tackle Photoshop. I navigate through the digital jungle with finesse, fueled by bamboo breaks and caffeine kicks. When the workday winds down, you might catch me devouring bamboo snacks while binging on the latest TV show, gaming or I could be out in nature, soaking up the tranquility and communing with my inner panda.

Read less »

Mindaugas Balčiauskas

Mindaugas Balčiauskas

Author, BoredPanda staff

I'm a visual editor at Bored Panda. I kickstart my day with a mug of coffee bigger than my head, ready to tackle Photoshop. I navigate through the digital jungle with finesse, fueled by bamboo breaks and caffeine kicks. When the workday winds down, you might catch me devouring bamboo snacks while binging on the latest TV show, gaming or I could be out in nature, soaking up the tranquility and communing with my inner panda.

What do you think?
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otelib avatar
marcelo D.
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm sorry, I know I'm not from the US, but How is it legal to charge you fees that are not prior disclosed? That s**t is illegal in almost the entire world, even s****y 3rd world countries like mine. So you bill can come and there is a surcharge because they felt like it ?

matthewfry avatar
Matthew
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's likely "disclosed" in small print on the back of the menu to cover them legally. But yes, it's totally fraud in any colloquial sense.

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amcgregor7419 avatar
Tams21
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Any argument about something like this is missing the point, if you ask me. Everyone should have access to basic health care and if they work full time, they should get a realistic, liveable salary. If a government can't afford the healthcare, it's failiing. If a business can't afford the salary, it's failing. There's plenty of money to go around in the US, it's just all going to the same people!

serena_6 avatar
Snow_White
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The US doesn't recognise healthcare or housing as basic human right. The most of the world does. That's why a lot of us from places like Europe disagree with Americans on subjects like this.

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otelib avatar
marcelo D.
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm sorry, I know I'm not from the US, but How is it legal to charge you fees that are not prior disclosed? That s**t is illegal in almost the entire world, even s****y 3rd world countries like mine. So you bill can come and there is a surcharge because they felt like it ?

matthewfry avatar
Matthew
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's likely "disclosed" in small print on the back of the menu to cover them legally. But yes, it's totally fraud in any colloquial sense.

Load More Replies...
amcgregor7419 avatar
Tams21
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Any argument about something like this is missing the point, if you ask me. Everyone should have access to basic health care and if they work full time, they should get a realistic, liveable salary. If a government can't afford the healthcare, it's failiing. If a business can't afford the salary, it's failing. There's plenty of money to go around in the US, it's just all going to the same people!

serena_6 avatar
Snow_White
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The US doesn't recognise healthcare or housing as basic human right. The most of the world does. That's why a lot of us from places like Europe disagree with Americans on subjects like this.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
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