Media Contact
Jillian Henze, senior communications manager, , 360-956-7279 ext. 124

Tip pool victory bridges heart-of-house wage gap in restaurant industry

(OLYMPIA, WASH., APRIL 2, 2018) – Washington restaurants can now share tips with heart-of-the-house employees.

A federal spending bill passed March 23 abolished a 2011 rule that prohibited tip pooling in all circumstances with non-customarily tipped employees. Now, employers are once again allowed the opportunity to expand tip pools and share the tips among a broader range of employees in states where tips are not recognized as wages.

This change allows tip sharing among both customarily and non-customarily tipped employees, including dishwashers and cooks.

The new legislation also makes it clear at the federal level that tips belong to the workers who receive them and that owners, managers and supervisors are prohibited from sharing in tip pools.

[expander_maker id=”1″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]

Tips in Washington state have always been the property of employees. Case law and Washington’s new minimum wage law identifies tips and gratuities as the property of employees. Owners and managers are also legally prohibited from benefiting from tip pools.

Anything that strengthens and clarifies these protections is welcome, said Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association.

The Department of Labor issued a field bulletin on April 6, 2018, further clarifying the change.

“Working in the hospitality industry – in a hotel or restaurant – is being part of a team,” Anton said. “All employees are working toward the common goal of providing the best possible customer experience. This rule change helps our employees succeed by rewarding teams who work together and is truly a win for all team members.”

The association looks forward to receiving further guidance and clarification from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding the tip pool policy.

For more information on the tip pooling rule or tip pooling laws, click here.


About the Washington Hospitality Association
The Washington Hospitality Association is a member-based organization that works at the state and local levels to find proactive solutions to the challenging issues facing the industry and its workforce. It provides its members with programs, services and the information they need to deliver great local experiences, ensure the success of their employees and help their communities thrive. The Washington Hospitality Association became one of the state’s largest trade associations in 2016 when the Washington Restaurant Association and Washington Lodging Association joined forces in a combined association.

About Washington’s Hospitality Industry
Hospitality is the industry that serves. It represents the largest group of private employers in the state, and the jobs the industry provides are the backbone of the state’s economy. Local restaurants and hotels employ more than 280,000 Washingtonians and each year, the hospitality industry generates more than $1.1 billion in state sales and Business & Occupation taxes. The hospitality industry is key to the health of our state, the careers of our citizens and the vitality of our communities.