Will New Tip Regulations Matter?

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Did you know that new labor rules went into effect on Saturday that are supposed to more clearly define how tips should be distributed to restaurant workers? They did! (Restaurateurs actually have until March to comply, but they'll be responsible for retroactively paying additional wages from the first of the year.) So they're in place. But will they make a difference?

Though the new regulations aim to clarify how tips should be handled and divided among restaurant employees, they're still fuzzy enough that somebody's going to end up feeling cheated at the end of the night. Maybe the bartender who serves drinks to the dining room but is only making tips off of service directly at the bar? Maybe the busser who had an insane night, but whose job entitles him to a lesser percentage of the tip pool? Even a New York state labor standards investigator admits to the Times, "A lot of this arises from custom and tradition ... if you're looking for perfect logic in this, it isn't there."

So, again, will the new regulations make a difference? (And will they put an end to tip-related lawsuits?) And more important: Will we finally be able to have our bar tab transferred to the dining room and be certain that we should or should not be leaving a separate tip for the bartender? (For the record: We usually do.) Or is the state just kind of putting into writing many of the practices that are already in place today?

New Rules Impose Systems for Sharing of Tips [NYT]