Spending Bill Provides Protections to Tipped Workers

Congress has just passed its new proposed spending bill, which includes a welcome provision protecting restaurant workers ability to keep the tips they earn. The bill sets forth that owners and managers may not retain the tips earned by tipped employees, as many feared when the current administration announced its plans to all employers to share in tip pools earlier this year.

The spending package would amend federal wage law – the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) – to expressly codify protections for tipped workers and spell out consequences for employers who violate these laws. Many times, tipped workers – such as waiters and waitresses – are forced to turn over tips to management. The spending bill also provides new language allowing tipped employees who earn at least minimum wage, to share with non-tipped employees such as dishwashers and cooks. However, management is still not privy to worker’s tips. This differs from the DOL proposal which may have allowed employers to keep tips earned by waitstaff. Now, if hourly workers earn full minimum wage (rather than tipped minimum wage) all hourly workers can share. If enacted, this may help address the inequality between front and back-of-house restaurant staff.

For more information about tipped wage policies or if you have any wage and hour question, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.

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