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Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

Can a manager share my tips?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2019 | Wage & Hour Laws |

Tipper workers earn every dollar they make by providing fast and efficient service to customers. This is why’s it’s so distressing to consider a manager or supervisor laying claim to any of these tips. Fortunately, recent legislation has made sure this practice does not occur, thereby protecting tipped workers. However, tip-pooling with traditionally non-tipped staff is permitted, according to Eater

While previous legislation determined that tips are owned by the worker that earned them, and not by management, recently proposed legislation aimed to change that. The fear of many within the restaurant industry was that managers could claim tips and deduct some share for their own financial gain. This practice was deemed unlawful by overriding legislation, which states that an owner cannot claim tips for any reason, regardless of whether a tip credit is taken. If an owner does take workers’ tips, he or she is subject to a fine of no more than $1,100 for each violation. Additionally, the owner will also be responsible for repaying any of the collected tips in full to workers. 

Tip-pooling is a different matter altogether. According to these new rules, tip-pooling is allowed among front and back end workers, but only if tipped workers are paid the federal minimum wage. Once certain criteria are met, workers who earn tips can be paid a much lower minimum wage, provided that their total earnings are equal to or greater than the current standard minimum wage. If an establishment pays all workers the standard minimum wage, they have the option of sharing tips among other staff such as cooks.

Many people claim that this is a better model since all workers will be paid a decent living wage. There are also worries about the disparity in pay between back and front end workers since wait staff has the opportunity to earn far more during the shift due to customer interaction. Others consider it an unfair practice because the service afforded by the front end staff is largely responsible for eliciting a tip of a certain amount.