Post # 1
Hi, bees! I’m a regular using going anon for privacy’s sake.
So here’s my dilemma. I work for a small, non-profit cultural institution. Part of my job involves giving tours, and I really, really enjoy this part of my work. I love talking to people, and I take a lot of pride in giving fun, interesting tours. I really try to connect with my audience, and I get tons of compliments. I also get a lot of tips.
When I first started working here, I was told that any tips I received should be “donated” to my employer. I’ve been faithfully doing that for about two years now. But today I really worked hard putting together a wonderful event for a family, and they were very grateful. (It was kind of an unusual event, but I was very accommodating and really went out of my way to make things nice for them.) They gave me a $50 tip, and I just… didn’t want to give it away again.
Here’s how I feel:
I’ve been working with the public and giving tours for over 10 years now, so I really appreciate when people go out of their way to help me or to give me an excellent experience. I always tip my tour guides when I get a great tour, and it’s always because I want to show my appreciation to THEM for making it special and awesome. I would be really disappointed to find out that they had to donate it to their employer. Same goes for any kind of service position. If I wanted to give money to the organization, I would do it. I’m giving them a tip because I want THEM to have it because they worked so hard to make things great for me.
Am I just trying to justify being greedy? (I don’t earn much money, so this could definitely be the case.) Did I “earn” these tips? Or should I do what I was told and continue donating them to the organization? Please help me decide what’s the right thing to do.
Post # 3
If people wanted to donate to the organization, they’d do that. When people hand you tips, they clearly intend to reward you for doing good work. IMO you are definitely entitled to keep them.
Post # 4
I don’t think you’re trying to justify greed, but you’re totally trying to justify keeping the tip even knowing that it’s not cool within the description of your job.
I guess in my own experience, if it feels wrong, it probably is. But it’s up to you whether or not you keep that money. It was given to you and it is yours to keep or give now.
Post # 5
I think that if it is the company’s policy that all tips are donated, and you knew that when you started/gave the tour, then you have to give it to the company. That being said, I think you earned the tips and it sucks that you can’t keep them.
Post # 6
While I think you *should* get to keep them, it sounds like you could be jeopardizing your job by doing so. I’d donate, and perhaps not accept tips in the future so people don’t mistakenly think they are rewarding you.
Post # 7
If your agreement with your employer re: compensation was that you’d be paid $x (or were volunteering, or whatever) and that you’d donate your tips, the only honest thing to do is continue donating the tips, or go work somewhere that you’d be allowed to keep your tips.
If you look at it in the scenario of a waitress who takes a job knowing that she’s expected to “tip out” a certain percentage to the bartender, busboy, food runner, etc, she’s basically being dishonest by under-reporting her tips. Even if she busted her butt to make those tips, she’s still agreed to tip out.
It sucks, but you agreed to it. You can’t change the rules when you get an extra generous tip.
Post # 8
Sorry to post again. I’ve just been thinking about this and I really think it is so unethical of your employer to keep your tips. It may even be illegal. That doesn’t mean you have to officially protest the policy, but it does mean that if you get caught keeping tips, you may have some recourse.
Post # 9
That sucks. To me if I tip someone I want them to have that money because I feel as though they earned it. If you are supposed to donate all money to your work place then I feel as though that is what you should do to keep from loosing your job.
Could you talk to someone about it? Could you keep half and donate half so both you and your company are “winning” because you are good at your job?
Post # 10
Just to be clear, there was no agreement at the time of my hiring that I would donate my tips. I was hired, and several weeks later when I mentioned to my boss that the previous group had tipped me, she informed me that I was supposed to donate any tips to the organization. Tips were never mentioned until then.
Does that change things, or is this still just me trying to get away with something? I really appreciate your honest feedback here, so please tell me the truth.
Post # 11
i do think people want to tip the individual
I dont think they can actually require all tips go to the organisation so i thnk it the interest of open-ness id probably talk to my boss about it and say i wanted to keep them
are you volunteering or getting paid
Post # 12
@needadvice99: When this policy was made known to you, that was your opportunity to either protest or quit. I’m not saying it’s necessarily fair, but I know if I didn’t agree with a company’s policy I wouldn’t take matters into my own hands by just not adhering to it.
Post # 13
When I tip someone, it is because I want to show appreciation to them, not to their employer.
But since you’ve previously agreed to donate the tips to your employer, I don’t know that you can justify no longer doing that. Even though I think the policy sucks.
Post # 14
Yeaaaah, sorry, but IMO the right thing to do would be giving it up. You’ve complied with the comanies policy for two years and now, just because it is a larger amount of money you are tempted to keep it. It really doesn’t matter what the amount of the tip is, the policy stays the same! So I’m sorry to say, but this sounds like greed.
If this large tip prompted you to reconsider if your company’s policy is fair, that makes perfect sense. BUT that doesn’t mean you can simply keep this tip. It means you have to bring this up with your supervisor. They may or may not agree with you and possibly even change the policy, but then the next question is would that be retroactive or not?
Post # 15
I work for a government agency where I’m frequently given thank you gifts, and have been offered monetary “tips” as well. I’m specifically not allowed to accept any gratuities, but if they protest, protest, protest, or they’re sent semi anonymously or in the mail or something were expected to donate them to the food bank.
I would suggest in the future you say “I’m not allowed to accept tips, but if you like the work were doing here please donate to x at the front desk so we can continue our programming” and that will prevent you feeling like they’re taking “your” money.
Post # 16
I think a lot of the question, at least from a legal standpoint, is if you’re considered a “service” employee or an hourly/regular wage employee. If you’re making more than the minimum wage, then you’re likely not categorized as a “service” employee, meaning the tips are not expected to cover the gap between what you’re paying and minimum wage. If you were making less than minimum wage, then the tips are your compensation and the employer cannot take them (but they can make you tip out or participate in a tip pool).
In some industries it’s common and expected that the tips go to the organization and not the employee, however this is usually with volunteers who get tipped, such as the Smithsonian volunteer tour guides who turn their tips over to whatever fund the Smithsonian is collecting for.
So legally you’re in a grey area, where the tips are not part of the compensation legally due you, and while you really should have been told that you were expected to donate your tips prior to being hired, the fact that you were told early in your employment AND you agreed to abide by this means you’ve got to follow the rule for now.
You may want to consider, though, telling your manager that, in light of the hard work you put in and the generosity of the guests, you’d prefer to keep your tips from now going forward.