Empire State clamps down on restaurant tipping practices

Empire State clamps down on restaurant tipping practices

(Image: D'Arcy Norman) 

As the tipping debate rages on in Toronto—with skirmishes breaking out around who’s entitled to them and whether or not they should be mandatory—the Yanks have actually gone and done something about it. New tipping regulations came into effect in New York State on Saturday, which, in theory, should clarify how tips should be handled among restaurant and hotel workers.

The new rules provide restaurant owners with some leeway on how their tip system is run, the New York Times reports. The money could be pooled, say, and divided up as necessary (bartenders, food runners, bussers and anyone who deals with customers are in, managers and kitchen staff are out), or individual servers could collect tips and dole them out to the team. The regulations also boost minimum wage for tipped employees and allow for enforcement should establishments fail to comply:

The Labor Department will require that employers keep records of tip pools and shares; the records could be examined during investigations undertaken by the department on its own or in response to complaints.

The department can compel a restaurant to pay money owed to employees going back six years. In addition, failure to comply with the rules can make a restaurant vulnerable to a lawsuit, something restaurateurs are especially wary of these days, given how aggressively some lawyers and workers’ advocates are pursuing cases.

Tipping issues have come up before Queen’s Park a few times already, which makes us wonder whether New York’s system could bring peace to Toronto dining rooms.

New Rules Impose Systems for Sharing of Tips [New York Times]