The Department of Labor just released a new tip pooling rule that’s caused a lot of confusion. If you are a tipped employee working in Kentucky, what does this new rule mean for you? Probably not much! The new rule allows employers to force employees to participate in a tip pool that includes “back of the house” employees, (cooks, dishwashers, etc.). But it’s important to know that the new rule only applies to employees who are paid at least minimum wage. In Kentucky, that’s $7.25 per hour. If you are paid $2.13 per hour, you cannot be forced to participate in a tip pool with back of the house employees under federal law.  

In fact, under Kentucky law, you (and your tips) have much more protection. If you work as a tipped employee in Kentucky:

  • You cannot be forced to participate in a tip pool of any type. Tip pooling is only allowed when everyone in the pool willingly agrees to participate.
  • You cannot be forced to “tip out” or give a portion of your tips to other employees.
  • You cannot be forced to share your tips with your employer, your supervisor, any other members of management, or owners.
  • You cannot be forced to work “off-the-clock” for any reason, including promoting a restaurant or bar.
  • Your employer cannot deduct a customer’s bill that the customer didn’t pay from your wages (unless you willfully or intentionally allowed the customer to “dine and dash”).
  • Your employer cannot deduct cash shortages from a register that is shared by two or more employees from your wages.

You have a right to keep the wages you earn! If your employer is engaged in wage theft, or if you just have questions about how your tips or wages are handled by your employer, please call. Craig Henry PLC handles cases involving wage law violations for employees across Kentucky and southern Indiana.

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