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Employment Law/Tips and drawer shortages


I have a small restaurant in Pennsylvania and employ about a dozen employees.  All of the employees receive at least minimum wage.  They put a tip jar at the serving window and at the end of the night they all divide the tips amongst those who were working that day.  Tips are not counted as part of the employees's wages, they a basically extra.  All of the servers use the same cash register and and are just signed in the cash register as user #2.  Lately my cash register has been coming up significantly short on a very consistent basis.  There is no person who seems to be a common denominator who can be pin pointed for the shortages.  In Pennsylvania, is it legal to used a portion or all of the day's tips to cover the drawer shortages?  Thanks for your help!

You are not allowed to use tips to cover register shortages. You would be punishing the innocent people that did not dip into the till.

I would suggest to you that you assign 1 person on the till for each shift. that person rings up all the orders and is in charge of the till. You can rotate if necessary so Maybe on Monday one person does it and on Tuesday another. You could even do morning and afternoon as long as you balanced the till before the new shift started and the next employee took over the till. With only 1 employee at a time responsible it won't take long to find out which employee is responsible.


I might also add there are a couple of other ways to do this. One that I see used a lot in our area is the servers have aprons with pockets and they have a bank bag in their aprons and you pay the server. At the end of shift the server's cash in his/her bank bag must match their tickets.


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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).


30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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