By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vetoed a bill which would require restaurant clients to tip waiters and waitresses ten percent of the bill as a service tax, whether they liked the service or not. According to the President in her justification for the veto, the bill was unconstitutional, since it would obligate clients to pay a service fee.
Rousseff is said to have consulted the Ministries of Justice, Finance, Planning and Labor before making the decision to veto the bill. The bill had been approved by Congress.
The bill also called for the regulation of the waiter/waitress profession. Those wanting a registration would have to prove two years of experience before obtaining a license. According to G1 the profession of waiters have been waiting for a regulation of the job for 24 years now.
Rousseff’s veto was mainly directed against the regulation of the profession, as article five, section XIII of the constitution guarantees the ‘free exercise of any trade or profession, leaving to impose restrictions only when there is a possibility of harm to society.’
In Brazil, it is common to add a ten percent to the tip and is often included as total on bills brought by waiters. However, until now it is not mandatory to pay any tip at all or to pay the full ten percent. Some restaurants in more exclusive areas in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have even tried to add twelve percent to their bills.
Last week Rousseff also vetoed the registry of the profession of decorator, which would have allowed only those with an university diploma in decoration or a similar area to be registered to work in the field.