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Can you make employees use a tip pool?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Employment Litigation

As a business owner, you decide that you would like your waitstaff to use a tip pool. Maybe you’ve had some complaints from customers that the service simply isn’t fast enough. If you allow all of your waitstaff to use a tip pool, then they don’t have to be bound to certain sections or certain tables. Anyone who has time can help any of your customers, which customers often prefer.

However, your employees may tell you that they would rather not use a tip pool. They want to be in charge of earning as much in tips as they can, and they don’t like the idea of splitting those tips with the other workers. This type of pushback will most often come from waiters and waitresses who tend to average more tips than their counterparts, as they will usually feel that they are losing out with a tip pool. Can you make them use this system even if they don’t want to?

You need to tell them in advance

You can do this, but the first thing to remember is that you have to tell them about the tip pool in advance. They need to know that this is the system you’re going to use, and you can’t retroactively take tips that they thought they were earning for themselves.

The second thing to remember is that you cannot be a part of the tip pool. Neither can any other managers, supervisors or executives. The tip pool has to be limited only to the workers who are earning those tips, or it would be unfair to them. Even in situations where you may wind up working on the floor and helping your staff, you still cannot include yourself in the pool because you are the owner of the business. Being included in the mandatory pool would be unfair to the employees.

If you find yourself facing any disputes over things like this, make sure that you know exactly what steps to take.

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