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Tip sharing versus tip pools: How sharing impacts workers

If you work as a waiter, waitress or other person in a restaurant, you may know well about tip pooling. In some locations, restaurants share all collected tips equally among employees who already receive tips and rely on them for their wages.

Tip sharing, on the other hand, is drawing negative news because of the potential to lose part of those tips to those who are on normal hourly wages. Tip pooling, on the other hand, is common but normally at the discretion of a server.

What are the good points of tip sharing?

Tip sharing isn't all bad. It takes one tip and shares it among the people who helped create the meal and experience the patron had that day. Having tip sharing could also help front- and back-of-hour employees earn around the same, as everyone could have the same hourly wages and share any tips received.

Are there true downsides to tip sharing?

Yes, there are downsides. Some who dislike the idea of tip sharing suggest that the restaurateurs could steal tips for themselves. Evidence now even suggests that many people pocket tips and don't report them. One piece of research stated that in three major cities, around 12 percent of tipped workers had theirs stolen from them by their bosses, supervisors and employers.

Tip sharing would make it legal for those individuals to take a share of tips, further costing those working for tips their fair share. Even if tip sharing is done correctly and breaks down tips among kitchen and wait staff, it threatens to take away too much from servers and not add enough to the kitchen wages, a threat that makes many hard-working employees balk at the idea of pay cuts.

The major concern with any kind of tip pooling or sharing is that employers or supervisors could steal tips or use them to cover fees that aren't a wait-staff member's concern. When employers don't provide the full tipped amount to employees, there is a real problem that employees can note and look into seeking legal action for.

In most cases, it is not legal for employers to take any portion of tips, but with tip sharing, that would change. It's something to consider, since there is only one state that would ban employers from taking a cut of their employees' tips, Washington. With no rules elsewhere, there is a true risk of people having their hard-earned money taken from them.

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