Tip Pooling Practices and the 20 Per Cent Tip

When is a 20 per cent tip not a 20 per cent tip to the server?  When the server must share it with others working in the restaurant. The article  briefly notes that most servers (including a server they interviewed who works in a Boston restaurant) must share tips with other workers in the restaurant, or what is known as tip pooling.  In these instances, the servers receive far less than 20 or even 15 per cent.

Many restaurants operate a tip pool where servers only share tips with others who wait directly on customers.  These tip pooling arrangements may meet the legal requirements in Massachusetts.  But other restaurants violate the laws by requiring servers to share tips with management, supervisors or others (such as maitre d’s and expeditors) who do not wait directly on customers.

The tip pooling requirements in many restaurants have a huge impact on the amount of money a server takes home at the end of the week.  While certain tip pooling practices are legal, Massachusetts has laws protecting waitstaff against illegal tip pools.

Here’s an interesting article from the Boston Globe on tipping waitstaff, entitled “For Waitstaff, 20 percent is the new 15.”

For a free consultation if you have questions about the tip pooling practices in your workplace, please call Boston labor and employment lawyer Maura Greene, Law Office of Maura Greene, One International Place, Boston, MA 02110, at 617-936-1580.