Those who work in the service industry in Georgia often rely on tips to supplement their wages. Therefore, it is important for them to understand what their rights are regarding tipping and how the tipping culture in the U.S. is changing.
Georgia’s tipping laws
Under Georgia law, tips belong to the worker not the employer. Employers cannot force workers to give them their tips. However, employers can take a tip credit in which the worker’s tips can be included as part of the employer’s obligation to pay the worker minimum wage. Also, tip pools are legal in Georgia in which all workers’ tips will be collected and shared among service workers in the establishment. When it comes to mandatory service charges, these are seen as a contract between the consumer and the establishment rather than a tip based on service by the wait staff. These additional charges will not be passed on to wait staff and if it is, customers need to be informed of this.
Is tipping culture changing?
The tipping culture in the U.S. may be changing. Some restaurants have banned tipping entirely and instead have added a surcharge onto patrons’ bills that is then shared out equitably to the workers. This is meant to enhance the workers’ wages and benefits. This practice means higher prices for consumers, but workers often see higher wages when tipping is exchanged for a service surcharge. Some restaurants see the rise of no-tipping culture as a boon to their pocketbooks. And many patrons support such practices.
Learn more about wage and hour laws in Georgia
If a service industry worker in Georgia believes they are not being given the tips they have earned they may have cause for a wage and hour claim. These claims are complicated especially for those who have never filed one before. Fortunately, help is available to service workers who believe their tips are being unfairly denied to them. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s website may be a useful resource for those who want more information on their rights and options as an employee.