Poland – Tips as a wage claim

If the employer divides the collected tips onto employees, this is part of their salary. The boss cannot freely decide to whom and what part will be given from this pot.

Giving or getting tipping accompanies us in many situations. In some industries, such as gastronomy, services or casinos, paying tips is a common practice. We give them to waiters, casino employees serving clients, hairdressers, beauticians, etc.

This is an important component of income to such an extent that in many professions employees receive minimum wages, and they earn a substantial part of their income from tips.

Pot to split

While in the past it was widely accepted that the tips “are, but they do not exist”, the first industry that broke these misunderstandings were casinos. Tips were paid into the common pot and shared among employees according to the employer’s rules adopted for that occasion. It had and has a deep justification, because tips, including their height, are earned by the entire staff, not just the person who received them. Customer satisfaction, e.g. of a restaurant, is determined not only by the quality of waiter service, but also by the quality of the dishes served by someone else and the work of many other staff members.

Revenue in PIT and ZUS

As I mentioned at the beginning, it is well known that the system of obtaining tips organized by the employer, which he then pays to employees, allows him to offer lower fixed components of remuneration (in particular basic salary). In this way, the boss obtains obvious economic benefits. As the Supreme Court stated in the justification of the judgment of August 6th, 2019.

(II PK 122/18) “organization of the additional tip remuneration system, management and distribution of funds accumulated from tips according to the objectified point mechanism means (…) that (…) the employer is not only its actual and legal administrator, but also its legal beneficiary who can propose and set the minimal (basic) remuneration in a low amount, paying an additional equivalent in the form of a significant financial share in the distribution of the tipped fund collected.

As a result, according to the Supreme Court, a specific (e.g. percentage) share of an employee in the tipping pool is not only a source of income from the work of employed persons who are subject to tax liability and constitute the basis for calculating social insurance contributions, but also – and perhaps above all – is normal claim component of remuneration.

Compensation element Until recently, the formalized division of the tip pot was the domain of casinos. However, given that the payment for other services whose prices include the so-called “service” is done in an electronic form – which makes it easy to check – the problem of splitting the tip pot has an increasingly wider range. Where the employer sets out specific rules for its division between employees, we are dealing with a classic bonus, which is a claim component of remuneration.

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