Woman Complains After She Was Charged A 5% 'Employee Health Fee' On Restaurant Bill In Addition To Her Tip

Should restaurants expect customers to pay for their employees' healthcare?

Last updated on Apr 13, 2024

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When you dine out at a restaurant, you expect to tip your server once you receive the bill. But sometimes, those hidden fees surprise even the most generous tippers.

That's exactly what happened to one woman, who was left flabbergasted after noticing an unusual charge on her bill.

A woman revealed that she had been charged an additional 5% 'employee health fee' on her restaurant bill.

In a video, a woman named Ashley Nichole was recounting a recent trip to one of her favorite restaurants. She explained that she and her friend had recently gone out to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, which Nichole added she'd been to "multiple times" in the past.


"The weirdest thing just happened to me," Nichole began in her video. "We enjoy our meal, we get the check, we pay for our check, and as we were signing the tip and stuff, we notice something."

She then showed off not only the receipt she received, but highlighted a surcharge that had been added — and it wasn't gratuity sometimes included on bills.



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Nichole revealed the exact bill she and her friend received at the restaurant, making sure to highlight the unusual 5% "employee health fee," which added $4.75 to the overall total.

After noticing the fee, Nichole immediately began to question what an "employee health fee" was, and why, as a customer, she was being charged for it. She decided to ask the hostess as she was walking out of the restaurant after paying the bill and leaving a tip.

"I'm like 'Hey, quick question. I saw that you guys charged us $5 each for employee health, and I just had to ask what is that?'" Nichole asked the restaurant employee, adding that the fee had been individual and not for their entire table.

The hostess answered that the fee was for the restaurant's staff healthcare. Upon this revelation, Nichole was left shocked at the hostess' answer, saying she'd "never heard of that before," and questioned if such a thing was a normal charge in restaurants.


Woman Complains After She Was Charged A 5% Employee Health Fee On Restaurant Bill In Addition To Her TipPhoto: RDNE Stock project / Pexels

"Is that normal?" she inquired. "Have I been living under a rock and this is a normal thing, or is this weird?"

With tipping culture getting out of hand, and now the added cost of customers raising funds for employees' healthcare, many diners have spoken out against the surcharge, especially people who have to also pay for their own health benefits that come out of their checks.


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In a similar video, another woman, Jillian, showed off a receipt she'd gotten after attending brunch, where the same surcharge appeared on her check for "staff benefits."

"I was flabbergasted... So you’re telling me every two weeks, it’s money taken out of my check to pay for my health insurance just so when I go to the doctor I still [have to] pay them more money to treat me, and then pay more money to get my meds from the pharmacy,” she said in disbelief.

She noted how unfair it is for the burden of paying for healthcare to fall on the customers rather than the employers, adding, "And now companies are allowed to put the burden for paying for their employees' healthcare on customers? Like, what?”




Restaurants have previously started adding surcharges to cover healthcare costs for their employees.

According to the New York Times, surcharges similar to what was seen on Nichole's bill began appearing around 2008. However, these fees became much more popular during the pandemic.

In 2008, the "healthcare charge" started after voters in San Francisco approved an ordinance requiring businesses with more than 20 employees to set aside funds for healthcare. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act, which went into effect in 2010, requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health benefits.


However, many restaurants simply adopted a surcharge to cover the cost of health insurance for employees, instead of providing it themselves, according to the Los Angeles Times. In fact, a survey from the National Restaurant Association found that one in six restaurants admitted that they are or plan to add surcharges to combat higher costs.

Many argue that, just as Jillian stated, the burden to provide healthcare shouldn't fall on customers. Rather, it should be up to restaurants to provide that opportunity to their staff.

Still, it's doubtful that customers will stop dining out. After all, they are helping their fellow human beings.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.