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Can your employer pool your tips?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2023 | Wage & Hour Laws

According to the Economic Policy Institute, of workers questioned in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, 12% reported having tips unfairly taken from them by their employer. One way this can happen is through tip pooling.

Understanding the rules about tip pooling in Chicago workplaces is necessary for all employees in the service industry. Many workers rely on tips as a significant part of their income, so it is important to know your rights and what your employer can or cannot do when it comes to your tips.

Legal guidelines for tip pooling

The laws in Illinois allow tip pooling under certain conditions. Employers must follow these guidelines to ensure they do not violate employee rights. Firstly, employers cannot keep any portion of the tips for themselves. This includes managers and supervisors who do not regularly receive tips. The tips belong entirely to the employees.

Who can participate in a tip pool

Only employees who customarily and regularly receive tips can participate in a tip pool. This typically includes front-line staff like servers, bartenders and bussers. Employees who do not usually receive tips, such as cooks and dishwashers, might not be eligible for tip pooling. However, recent changes in federal law have started to allow back-of-house staff to participate in tip pools if the employer does not take a tip credit.

Employer’s role in tip pooling

Employers can require tip pooling and can set up the system for how it works. However, they must clearly communicate the tip pooling policy to all employees. This includes how they will distribute tips and who is eligible to receive them. It is important for employees to understand and agree to these terms.

Employees should familiarize themselves with these rules to ensure they receive fair compensation for their work. Understanding these laws helps maintain a transparent and fair working environment for everyone in the service industry.