Dec 6, 2017

Trump admin proposes reversing Obama-era rules on tip-pooling

Patrons sitting at the counter of a Rhode Island restaurant. Photo: Stephan Savoia / AP

The Department of Labor said Monday that it is proposing a rule change that would reverse Obama-era restrictions on tip-pooling in restaurants. The practice allows employers to combine servers' tips and share them with "back of the house" employees, such as cooks and dish washers, who do not get customer tips.

Yes, but: The Obama administration enacted the labor regulation to prevent employers from seizing and pocketing servers' tips. Industry groups say tip-pooling is necessary to equalize compensations of servers and untipped workers. But workers' rights groups may fight the Trump administration on this move, noting that some employers already pay tipped employees less than others to account for the gap, NBC reports.

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Inside hackers' pivot to medical espionage

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A wave of cyber-spying around COVID-19 medical research is once more demonstrating the perils of treating cybersecurity as a separate, walled-off realm.

Driving the news: U.S. officials recently announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the United States for data on a potential COVID-19 cure or effective treatments to combat the virus. Additionally, “more than a dozen countries have redeployed military and intelligence hackers to glean whatever they can about other nations’ virus responses,” reports the New York Times.

The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.