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What Makes You a Tipped Employee?

If you work in the service industry, there’s a significantly higher chance that you are owed unpaid wages than in most other jobs. Restaurant workers are often not paid overtime, minimum wage, or other compensation they rightfully deserve according to wage and hour laws. In this brief article, a Tampa wage and hour attorney will discuss the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) definition of a tipped employee and the compensation you are owed in the State of Florida. Remember, if your employer is violating wage and hour laws, Tampa wage and hour attorneys are standing by for consultation.

What is a “Tipped Employee”?

If you work in a position in which you regularly receive more than $30 dollars per month in tipped compensation, chances are that you are considered a tipped employee. In the State of Florida, tipped employees earn $5.44 per hour. The minimum wage for non-tipped employees is $8.46 per hour. With a difference of $3.02, this means that the employer is responsible for equaling the state minimum hourly wage if a tipped employee fails to earn this difference. This total is often referred to as the “tip credit.”

Ways Employers Cheat the System

Servers, bartenders, and other professionals that rely on tipped compensation should be mindful of ways that employers may fail to compensate them for their earned wages. Here are a few ways that employers violate federal labor laws by failing to pay a tipped employee the total compensation they deserve:

  • Paid Less Than Minimum Wage: If a tipped employee doesn’t earn sufficient tips and ends up earning less than minimum wage for a shift, the employer may fail to compensate the employee the difference in wages.
  • Not Paid an Hourly Rate: Some employers fail to pay their servers or bartenders an hourly rate as they believe the tipped compensation is enough. Tipped employees should earn an hourly rate regardless of their tipped compensation.
  • Deductions: When customers walk out on their check, breakage occurs, or other cash shortages occur, the end result is that the tipped employee may be penalized so severely by their employer that they don’t earn minimum wage.
  • Tip Pools: Some restaurants take all of the tipped compensation and collectively place it into a tip pool that equally divides this compensation to the tipped employees. Although this isn’t illegal, some tip pools include non-tipped employees like kitchen employees or hostesses.

If you would like to speak with our Tampa wage and hour attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.