Eating out in RVA likely involves leaving a tip. But who do you think actually gets that money?
A proposed change to tipping rules could have a big impact on restaurants all over the country, including in Central Virginia.
The bill arrives at a restaurant, and you decide to leave a big tip because you got great service. But if a new rule proposed by the Labor Department is approved, the restaurant owner could end up with that tip, rather than the server.
The proposed federal changes allow employers to legally pocket tips servers earn at restaurants.
The change would repeal a 2011 ruling that said employers couldn't keep worker's tips.
Supporters say it levels the playing field between different employees, by allowing the owner to pool all of those tips and distribute them to everyone, including dishwashers and cooks and others who aren't usually tipped.
But the only thing the new rules require is that staff make minimum wage.
Beyond that, it's up to the owner's discretion how the money is distributed.
Critics say history shows that employers could just keep the money themselves.
A study from the Center for Urban Economic Development found 12 percent of tipped workers had tips stolen by employers or supervisors.
Complicating this, too, is the fact many states already outlaw those tip pools, so this will likely get messy.
The Department of Labor has 60 days to make a decision. We'll let you know what happens.
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