Are split tips and tip pools wage theft?

When you’re a waiter or work another role in a restaurant, it is fairly common to receive tips. Depending on the role you have, you might earn tips directly or be someone who is “tipped out” at the end of the night based on a percentage of everyone else’s tips.

There are rules that apply to tips and how they can be divided, especially when tip pools are used. Here’s what you should know about your right to tips.

  1. Tipping non-tipped employees

Non-tipped employees can be a part of the tip pool in some cases. If the employer doesn’t take tip credit and pays full minimum wage, then non-tipped employees are allowed to participate in a tip pool.

  1. Tipping out regularly

Employers who allow tip pooling have to tip employees within the same pay period. They cannot hold tips for a longer period of time or withhold them for an undetermined amount of time.

  1. Tipping managers, supervisors and employers

Managers, employers and supervisors are not allowed to participate in a tip pool. They can, however, keep tips they’re given directly.

All of these rules are rules you should know, because they can help you protect your tips and avoid unfair wage theft.

Why are tip tools legal?

Tip pools are legal in many circumstances because they help keep things fair in the workplace. They make sure that all people working with customers, from those behind the scenes to those up front, get the extra compensation meant for them. At the same time, you need to be sure that only those who are eligible to receive tips are getting them and that you are paid out on time.

What should you do if you suspect wage theft?

In the case that you suspect wage theft, it is a good idea to look into speaking with your employer and an attorney. There is a chance that your employer may not understand the laws correctly, or you may need to take steps to get them to pay you out correctly and repay you for past wages lost due to their errors.

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