Restaurants in New York cannot require servers to share their tips with non-service employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs, janitors, and managers. Restaurants can require waiters to split their tips from customers with other front of the house employees who provide personal service to customers as a principal and regular part of their duties (such as bussers, bartenders, barbacks, food runners, captains who provide direct food service to customers, and hosts who greet and seat guests).
Restaurants can institute either a tip share or a tip pool as a means of distributing tips. A “tip share” is where the directly-tipped employee shares his or her tips with other eligible workers who participated in providing service to customers. This can be voluntary or the employer may set the percentage which is to be distributed. However, the employees must handle the transactions themselves. In addition, employees cannot be forced to share more than a “customary and reasonable” portion of their tips.
A “tip pool” is an arrangement whereby directly tipped employees pool their tips, which are then distributed among eligible directly and indirectly tipped employees who provided service to customers. Employees may voluntarily and mutually agree to pool their tips, or the restaurant may impose a tip pool on its staff and set the percentage to be distributed to each occupation from the pool, so long as only food service workers receive tips from the pool.