A new rule may have more New York servers sharing tips with other restaurant co-workers who haven’t received tips in the past. The U.S. Department of Labor has amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require nontraditional shared tip pools if restaurant servers get paid a full minimum wage. With a nontraditional, shared tip pool, restaurant dishwashers and cooks also receive a share of servers’ tips.
Different types of tip pooling
Restaurant owners who pay servers a tipped wage (at least $2.13 per hour) must still implement a traditional tip pool, under which only workers who traditionally receive tips, such as servers and bartenders, can share in the tip pool. If servers and bartenders are paid at least the minimum wage, then restaurants must require employees to share tips with non-tipped employees.
The National Restaurant Association supported this rule change, allowing for a nontraditional tip pool among more restaurant employees. The U.S. Department of Labor noted that the rule change likely would increase pay for cooks and dishwashers, who also contribute to a customer’s experience at a restaurant.
The Trump administration first sought to broaden how restaurant employers could distribute tips. Under an Obama era rule, employees who received tips could keep them for themselves and not have to share them with other behind-the-scenes restaurant workers.
When questions about tipping and wages arise
If you work in the restaurant industry as a server, you may have questions about how you should receive tips, especially if your employer implements a tip pool. If you feel you are being shortchanged tips or wages, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney. An attorney can help determine if your employer has committed any wage violations or you are owed overtime pay.
Working as a restaurant server isn’t easy. You should know you are receiving the proper compensation for your hard work.