The rules about what counts as a tip, how much your employer must pay you, and whether you have to contribute to a tip pool depend on the laws in your state and can be a bit complicated.

Below we explain how tipping works in California. In California as in many other states it is normal to receive tips if you wait tables, serve or prepare drinks, open doors, transport luggage, clean hotel rooms or provide other services, from moving furniture to delivering newspapers. And it is very common for many employees, depending on the field, to earn more money in tips from satisfied customers than in direct salaries paid by their employers.

But what counts as a tip? All monetary remuneration for the service that the employee offers according to his position or work role. The rules about how much your employer must pay and whether you have to contribute to a tip pool under California law are very protective of employees. What does this mean? Tips are always for the employee, not the employer. This means that you cannot be forced to share your tips with company owners, managers or supervisors. Therefore, the employer cannot count on that money to pay part of an employee’s salary. Tips are additional money that the employee earns for good performance. This means that the employer must always comply with the payment of at least the minimum wage.

However, it is important for the employee to be aware that California law does permit pooling of tips. This means that a group of employees pool their tips and distribute them equally. Are there regulations on this action? Yes, the law stipulates that only employees in the service chain can form this group. For example, in a restaurant from the cook, waiter, dishwasher can form this group, excluding the managers. And finally the distribution must be fair according to the percentage of service of the same.

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