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New Law Wants to Introduce Tipping at Walmart and Other Major Retailers

It would prohibit employers from reprimanding employees if they accept cash tips.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, tipping culture has undergone major changes. The option to tip is now common (and often encouraged) at ice cream stores, coffee shops, and more—and retailers make it even easier to tack on a few bucks when paying with your credit card on an iPad. But while gratuities are more prevalent, there are still a few places where you probably wouldn't think to tip, including Walmart. However, a new law may change that, with tipping becoming an option at these big-box stores and other major retailers. Read on to find out where legislators are pushing this change, and how it might affect your shopping experience.

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Places You Should Never Tip, According to Etiquette Experts.

Certain retailers prohibit cash tips.

A closeup of a Walmart storefront sign
Shutterstock / ZikG

When you hit up Walmart, it's easy to leave the store with a full cart. In this case, an employee may help you out—and you may hand them a few bucks to say thanks. But cash tips are something that Walmart doesn't allow its associates to accept, Insider reported.

According to Walmart's website, optional tips can be added electronically when you use the retailer's delivery service, but the page doesn't make note of cash gratuities.

The retail giant is not alone in enforcing tipping rules: McDonald's also prohibits employees from collecting cash tips. Per the restaurant's website, tips aren't accepted "as McDonald's restaurants have a team environment which is not about rewarding individuals." Customers who want to "make a donation" can contribute to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).

This may soon change in Colorado, however, as a law would permit Walmart employees—and employees at all major retailers—to accept cash tips.

The law would prohibit employers from reprimanding employees for accepting cash tips.

law code books and gavel
Pedal to the Stock / Shutterstock

If passed, the bill will make it unlawful for employers to "take adverse action against an employee who accepts a cash gratuity offered by a patron of the business." According to Colorado Politics, this means that workers can't be demoted, fired, or reprimanded if they accept cash tips.

The bill has already passed the Colorado state house and senate, Insider reported, meaning it just needs to be signed by Governor Jared Polis to officially become law.

Best Life reached out to McDonald's and Walmart for statements on the Colorado bill, and will update the story upon hearing back.

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The bill is intended to help Colorado residents in minimum-wage jobs.

employee taking payment at a drive-thru
Around the World Photos / Shutterstock

Colorado State Representative Alex Valdez told Colorado Politics that the move is intended to help those earning minimum wage, which is $13.65 an hour in the Centennial State.

"[It is] still not enough to make a living in my district and in many parts of the state," Valdez said.

Another supporter of the bill, Representative Rick Taggart, who is also a professor at Colorado Mesa University, added that working college students are just "trying to make ends meet."

"They are out in the elements delivering bags to folks who don't want to be standing out in the elements, and they want to reward them," Taggart said, per Colorado Politics.

Some say that employers should make the call about tipping.

mcdonalds sign in the air, 1984 facts

Those who voted against the bill said that businesses should be in charge of their policies.

"I think [the bill has] some unintended consequences, and I hope that our governor doesn't sign it," Representative Jim Smallwood said in an interview with CNN. "If the law would have actually specified that we were talking about low-wage employees, I might have felt differently about the topic, but the bill itself would really apply to any employee at any wage level, and that was exactly the concern that I raised."

Smallwood argued that managers at restaurants or amusement parks may give preferential treatment to those who have "a wad of cash in their pocket."

When questioned about why customers can't simply tip a few dollars for assistance with their groceries, the representative added that while he thinks tipping is a good thing in "a lot of cases," the decision to allow it should still rest with employers.

"We should probably rely on employers to know what is best for their customers and their employees," Smallwood said, noting that businesses may do this to ensure that their customers receive "the same level of customer service, whether or not they have cash."

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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