Restaurants could require servers to split tips under new regulation

Posted at 3:05 PM, Feb 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-06 20:40:00-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Should servers and bartenders share their tips with other employees?

It's a conversation that's heating up in Washington as the Department of Labor considers new tip regulations.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding tip regulations back in December. Under the proposed new rule, workplaces would have the freedom to allow sharing of tips among more employees. The proposal would help decrease wage disparities between tipped and non-tipped workers.

The public input for the proposal has closed.

The proposal only applies where employers pay a full minimum wage and do not take a tip credit. 

Lauren Thompson has been a server for 14 years and is putting herself through art school.

"That's my hard-earned money that I should be deciding where it should go," said Thompson.

Kevin Timmons is the owner of Nick and Jake's and the president of the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association.

He said the changes to tipped wages are a hot topic in the coastal areas, but said he doesn't anticipate any changes in the Kansas City metro.

"On the eastern big coastal cities, where minimum wage is being enforced at $15 dollars an hour and the tip credit has changed, the payment of servers, bartenders and busers is higher. That's where this conversation is really happening," said Timmons.

"It probably puts them at a disadvantage in getting the very best of the best in getting servers, bartenders or even busers because, if they're not getting their tips, the perception is they're not getting what the guest wants them to make."

After receiving public comment, the Labor Department intends to publish an informed cost-benefit analysis as part of any final rule.

The comment period ended Feb 5; the department will review comments that it has received.