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Do I get to keep tips that I get from customers at work?

Do I get to keep tips that I get from customers at work?
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Reviewed: 
March 9, 2018
Answer

If you work some place where people leave tips, like a restaurant or a hair or nail salon, you get to keep the tips people give you. That's the general rule in the Employment Standards Act (ESA).

But there are 2 exceptions to this rule:

  1. Your employer can decide that tips go into a "pool" for sharing. If tips are shared, your employer can decide what share of the pool you get.
  2. Another law or a court order could say that your employer does not have to let you keep your tips. For example, a court order could say that your employer has to take money out of your wages and tips to pay money that you owe, like child support.

When employers can share in the tips

If your employer decides that tips go into a pool for sharing, they usually do not get a share for themselves.

But if an employer owns all or part of the business, they can share in the tips if they regularly do a lot of the same work as:

  • workers who are sharing the tips, or 
  • workers in the same industry who normally get tips.

For example, a restaurant owner who spends a lot of time serving food is allowed to share in the tips.

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