QLD Hospitality Industry - Who Owns the Tips?

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21 July 2015
What is the law regarding tips in the hospitality industry in Queensland?

My employer has a company policy that all tips are to be pooled and split once a month. They consistently fail to do this on time.

Who owns a tip? Can I legally refuse to add a tip to the jar if it is given directly to me and told it is for me and not anyone else by the customer?


Well-Known Member
10 February 2015
Hi Chase,

Tipping isn't directly legislated on by labour law in Australia so the collection and distribution of tips is a bit of a legal grey area.
As an employee, when you receive money in the course of your employment, you have a duty at common law (court made case law) to account to your employer. Even if you receive a tip that "is only for you", you are receiving the tip in the course of and because of your employment. Therefore, your employer would arguably have the better claim to tip money.

However if your employer has set up a regular system of distribution that is expected and relied upon by employees, then this could form an implied term of your employee contract. This would mean that you could argue that the tips are held on trust for the employees, thereby compelling the employer to distribute them in accordance with their policy.