UnderCover Waitress: Pay Stubs and Tip Outs

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pay Stubs and Tip Outs

Ask the Waitress!
I'm a bartender at a fine dining restaurant in Florida. The servers give up 3% of there total sales, 1.5% to the bussers, and 1.5% to the bartenders. It's automatically deducted out of their checkouts at the end of their shift. I'm told the total 1.5% to the bartenders is divided by the number of bartenders that worked that day, day shifts get day shift tip share and night shift gets night shift tip share.  The issue is this "tip share" is not itemized on our pay stub, so I never know how much tip share I'm getting each bi-weekly pay period. I'm told the servers do not declare their tip share and that it's taxed on my paycheck even though I have no idea how much the tip share I'm supposed to be getting is. Is this a normal practice? Management says this "tip share" is part of the reported tips on our pay stub. I don't understand why it's not itemized separately on our pay stub. Have you ever heard of this practice before?
It sounds like your employer is watching and controlling the tip sharing situation. This is a good thing, in my opinion. Servers are not paying taxes on money they gave to other employees, such as bartenders. Also, the employer is probably paying attention to whether or not waitresses are owed a tip credit. In other words, if they don't make minimum wage, the employer would know that and would supplement their income.

People are only paying taxes on the money they get to keep. That means you, as a bartender, will pay taxes on your share of servers tips.

Your frustration seems to be that the tips you receive from servers are lumped in with your own bartending tips on your pay stub. Therefore, you do not see the difference between what a bar customer left you and what a waitress paid you.

To the best of my knowledge, this is legal and there is nothing wrong. From your employer's perspective, and the IRS's perspective, there is no difference between tips you earned directly (from customers sitting at the bar) and tips you earned indirectly (via waitress tip share.) Tips are tips. Tips are also income, so they get reported and taxed.

A tip is a tip is a tip.

If you want to know because you think you are being stiffed by servers; it sounds as if management is already overseeing server tip outs. If you think the managers are stiffing you... If you have good reason to believe managers are pocketing tip money that belongs to you, you may quietly contact the Department of Labor. But if you don't have any other reason to suspect foul play, please understand that, based solely upon what you describe, your employer is doing nothing wrong, and you have nothing to worry about.

Hope this helps, and thanks for Asking the Waitress!


  1. This practice seems shady...BUT, instead of going straight to the Dept of Labor, why not track the tips you KNOW you're making as a bartender (i.e. the tips from your customers) and then see what is on your paycheck. While the employer "is doing nothing wrong" by separating them out, you still should have the right to know what the floor tip out is. It's the only way to really ensure that something funny isn't going on.


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