Woman Surprised To Find 'Employee Health' Charge On Her Restaurant Bill

By Editorial Staff in Food On 24th June 2024

Regular diners at restaurants across the US will be familiar with the fact that the final bill often includes more than just the cost of the meal.

Unfortunately, with the high price of food these days, those extra charges can feel a bit steep.

Typically, you expect to pay for your meal and drinks, and then there's often a tip, which the restaurant might even set the rate for.

However, it's not uncommon to find additional fees tacked on, so it's always wise to review your receipt before settling the bill.

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Ashley Nicole found herself scratching her head over an unexpected 'employee health' charge on her bill last year.

She took her puzzlement to TikTok, sharing her experience and the conversation that followed with a restaurant staff member.

"The weirdest thing just happened to me," she began her video. 

"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's an Italian restaurant here in LA that I’ve been to multiple times. We enjoyed our meal. After we got the check and paid, we were looking over the receipt as we were signing for the tip, and we noticed something odd."

She showed her receipt in the video, which at first glance seemed normal, listing items like crispy potatoes and short rib ravioli. 

The TikToker was left shocked by the 'employee health' charge. TikTok / @ashnichole_xo

But a closer look below the $42 New York steak revealed a 5 percent charge labeled 'Employee Health', adding almost $5 to their bill.

She explained further: "Here’s the receipt, and if you look down here towards the bottom, you can see a $4.75 charge for employee health. 

"Do you see that, a 5 percent charge for employee health? My first thought was, ‘What is employee health? What does that mean?’ 

"We thought about it for a bit and then I decided, 'You know what? I’m just going to ask.'"

Curious, Nicole approached the hostess as they were leaving to inquire about the charge. 

"So as we’re 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, for employee health and I just had to ask, what is that?’ 

The meaning behind the charge left Ashley Nicole surprised. TikTok / @ashnichole_xo

"And she goes, ‘Oh, that’s our healthcare.’ And I was like, ‘Your healthcare?’ And she replied, ‘Yes, our healthcare.’"

Left feeling baffled, Nicole turned to her online followers for clarity. 

"I’ve never heard of that before, ever," she admitted. 

"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. 

TikTok / @ashnichole_xo

"Let me know ’cause I’ve never seen this before."

The practice of adding such charges began to appear more frequently after 2008, following an ordinance in San Francisco that required businesses with more than 20 employees to allocate funds for healthcare.

The federal Affordable Care Act mandates this only for employers with 50 or more employees, which often excludes smaller businesses, especially in the hospitality sector.