Joining a coalition of 17 attorneys general, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today expressed her opposition to the Trump Administration\u2019s proposal to rescind a rule that allows employees to keep the tips they earn. \n\nThe attorneys general today submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) regarding its plan to repeal a 2011 rule clarifying that gratuities are the sole property of employees, and that employers cannot retain any portion of an employee\u2019s tips. Under the Trump Administration\u2019s proposed rule change, employers would be allowed to pocket tips earned by employees who are paid the federal minimum wage. \n\n\u201cWhen customers pay tips, they expect that money to go to workers,\u201d said AG Healey. \u201cThis proposed rule change allows employers to keep all the tips for themselves, tricking customers and depriving low-wage workers of the wages they earn.\u201d\n\nAccording to the Economic Policy Institute, repealing the rule could result in employers taking up to $5.8 billion of workers\u2019 earned tips. USDOL, which is spearheading the rule change, reportedly decided to shelve an economic analysis that highlighted the billions in gratuity earnings that workers could lose. \n\nUnder the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay their employees the federal minimum wage. Employers can meet this requirement either by paying employees the full federal minimum wage \u2013 currently $7.25 per hour \u2013 or by paying a lower cash wage, no less than $2.13 per hour, and making up the difference with the tips that the employee earns. The latter practice is known as a \u201ctip credit.\u201d The Trump Administration\u2019s proposed rescission of the 2011 rule would allow employers who pay employees $7.25 per hour to claim the employees\u2019 tips for any purpose.\n\nMassachusetts law does not permit employers to share any portion of an employee\u2019s tips, and the proposed change will not legally impact the rights of Massachusetts service employees. However, the rule may cause confusion among employers and employees alike and may result in improper tip retention by employers.\n\nAG Healey\u2019s Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing the prevailing wage, minimum wage, payment of wages, overtime, tip pooling, child labor, and Sunday and holiday premium pay laws. \n\nThe Division regularly enforces the Massachusetts tip payment statute. Since January 2015, the Division has taken enforcement action against 19 employers for violating the state\u2019s tip payment law. In all, employers were cited more than $700,000 in restitution and penalties. Last year, the Division cited a Cohasset inn for inaccurately reporting tip amounts on payroll records and for failing to pay the correct service rate to at least one employee. In 2016, the AG\u2019s Office cited a Worcester restaurant owner for illegally retaining tips that should have been distributed to the service staff. \n\nWorkers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor. For information about the state\u2019s wage and hour laws, workers may call the Office\u2019s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to the Attorney General\u2019s new Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.\n\nThe attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia sent today\u2019s joint letter.