If you’re working in an industry where you depend on tips as part of your wages, the most common way to receive these is simply to be given a tip by the customer at the moment that they pay. People often leave tips on the table in a restaurant, write a tip on a credit card receipt or hand it directly to a delivery driver.
However, some businesses propose using a tip pool. Employees who are in this pool have to combine all the tips that they get during their shift. At the end of the day, these tips are then divided evenly between all employees.
There are benefits and drawbacks to the system. Many employers feel that it allows their employees to offer better service to the customers. Many employees, however, feel that they essentially are being told they have to give some of their own tips to a co-worker who didn’t make as much. Is this legal in Kentucky?
Tip pooling cannot be mandated
Tip pools are allowed in Kentucky, but all the employees have to agree to enter into them voluntarily. This means that some employees may not want to be involved in the pool, while the others decide that they want to use it. There can be this type of split even within a singular business.
However, while some states allow business owners to make this decision, Kentucky stipulates that an owner cannot compel their workers to participate in a tip pool. It cannot be mandated. The employees have to be given the choice of whether or not they would like to use this system.
If you feel like your employer has been illegally using a tip pool or otherwise violating your rights under wage-and-hour laws, you need to know exactly what legal options you have.