Servers' tips could be pooled under new proposal

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MUSCATINE, Ia. (KWQC) - A new Department of Labor proposal would change the system for tipping workers in the service industry, such as at restaurants.

The proposed change to an Obama administration regulation would allow restaurants to pool all tips only on the condition that they pay their servers the minimum wage: $7.25 an hour.

The idea is that the business would then share the pooled tips with all their employees, including cooks and dishwashers.

Marcella Alimoski works 40 hours a week as a server and relies on tips to provide for her family and said the proposal is unfair.

"I feel like every server works differently and they do get a different amount of tips based off of that table and I don't feel like it's based on one person to decide on how it should be divided."

Currently, restaurants are prohibited from pooling workers’ tips. However, the proposal would give employers the ability to pool tips and distribute the money as they see fit. Boni Alimoski, owner of Muscatine Family Restaurant, said he doesn't plan to adopt the measure and said it's hard enough to retain servers as it is.

"In this town in this area in this decade right now it's really hard for employers to keep employees."

The government has opened a public comment period now through Feb. 5. To weigh in, visit the Federal Register's website: