B.C. tightening rules around what restaurants can do with their staff's tips

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      When you leave a waitress or waiter an extra-generous tip, it’s nice to know that they’re actually going to receive it.

      There’s never been any assurance of that in B.C. It might surprise some diners to know that restaurant managers in this province have historically been allowed to collect a portion of their servers’ tips to help cover operating costs.

      Now that’s changing. While there’s still no rule that says a tip has to go to the specific server or bartender for which it was left, new rules introduced in the B.C. legislature Monday (April 29) say management can no longer put their staff’s tips toward overhead.

      "Those are supposed to be their wages," Labour Minister Harry Bains told CBC News. "The money is left behind for the service that they provide to the customer."

      Restaurants are still allowed to pool tips. That’s a common practice wherein waiters and waitresses give their tips to management, which then divides up the collective amount among the restaurant’s entire staff including front-end positions such as hosts and kitchen staff working in the back.

      The new rules also say that owners and managers cannot withhold or deduct tips.

      The changes are part of B.C.’s first significant overhaul of the Labour Relations Code since 1992.

      "By bringing in changes to the Labour Relations Code, we will ensure better protection of collective bargaining rights for workers in British Columbia and promote more stable and harmonious labour relations for employers and unions,” Bains said quoted in a media release.