Unpaid Tips

Get All Your Tips


ou’re working hard, you’re earning tips, but are you getting paid all your tips? Under current Massachusetts law, only three classes of employees are eligible to receive and share tips:

  • Wait staff
  • Service employees
  • Service bartenders

The following must apply to fall under any of these three categories.

Wait Staff: To be considered a wait staff employee, the individual must:

  1. Work in a restaurant, banquet facility, or other place where food and beverages are served;
  2. Serve food or beverages directly to customers or clear customer’s tables; and
  3. Must not have any managerial responsibility.

Service Employee: To be considered a service employee, the individual must work in occupations in which they customarily receive tips, must not provide food and beverage service, and must not have any managerial responsibility.

Service Bartender: To be considered a service bartender, the individual must prepare alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages for customers that are served by another employee.

The most important aspect of any of these categories is whether or not the individual in question has any managerial responsibility. If you do not have ANY managerial responsibility, but are required to share tips with individuals that have some managerial responsibility (no matter how small), you are not being paid all the tips that you are entitled to receive.

For additional information on this topic, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has published a helpful advisory. It can be found here: http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/workplace/tips-advisory.pdf


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