Proposed law would make “tipping out” illegal at restaurants

Proposed law would make “tipping out” illegal at restaurants

Destination known: if passed, a new bill could ensure that tips go entirely to restaurant staffers (Image: Carissa Rogers) 

The gravy train could be coming to an end at Toronto’s restaurants, as well as at city hall. Many restaurant owners are in the habit of pocketing a portion of their servers’ tips—a practice some call “tipping out” and others call “stealing.” A private member’s bill introduced by Toronto NDP MPP Michael Prue (Beaches–East York) might put an end to all of that. The proposed law would ensure that the money clients leave as a gratuity would go entirely to the people who served them. The bill is being greeted with enthusiasm by all parties at Queen’s Park.

The bill wouldn’t affect tip sharing between servers and those who actually help them—bussers or food runners, say—but it’s hard to say how the bill would be enforced if it were passed. Tip sharing is quite arbitrary, and the government doesn’t really monitor gratuities, anyway.

Prue’s proposal comes hot on the heels of another private member’s bill, this one from Liberal David Caplan, that would keep restaurants from automatically adding gratuities to the bills of large parties. The Elimination of Automatic Tips Act has just passed its first reading.

For servers, not owners [Toronto Star]