Tipped employees

The application of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to employees who receive tips

Call (954) 946-8130 for a free telephone consultation with a Florida lawyer about your unpaid overtime and minimum wage claim.

Tipped Employees, Minimum Wages, Tip Credit & Tip Pools

Tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips. Tips are the property of the employee. The employer is prohibited from using an employee’s tips for any reason other than as a credit against its minimum wage obligation to the employee (“tip credit”) or in furtherance of a valid tip pool. Only tips actually received by the employee may be counted in determining whether the employee is a tipped employee and in applying the tip credit. Violations are rampant in the restaurant industry in Florida.

Retaliation under FLSA

Tip Credit: Section 3(m) of the FLSA permits an employer to take a tip credit toward its minimum wage obligation for tipped employees equal to the difference between the required cash wage (which must be at least $2.13) and the federal minimum wage [fedeeral minimum – cash wage = tip credit]. Thus, the maximum tip credit that an employer can currently claim under the FLSA is $5.12 per hour (the minimum wage of $7.25 minus the minimum required cash wage of $2.13).

Tip Pool: The requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, such as waiters, waitresses, bellhops, counter personnel (who serve customers), bussers, and service bartenders. A valid tip pool may not include employees who do not customarily and regularly received tips, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors and do not interact directly with customers.

Requirements for Compliance with  Minimum Wage Laws

The employer must provide the following information to a tipped employee before the employer may use the tip credit:

1) the amount of cash wage the employer is paying a tipped employee, which must be at least $2.13 per hour;

2) the additional amount claimed by the employer as a tip credit, which cannot exceed $5.12 (the difference between the minimum required cash wage of $2.13 and the current minimum wage of $7.25);

3) that the tip credit claimed by the employer cannot exceed the amount of tips actually received by the tipped employee;

4) that all tips received by the tipped employee are to be retained by the employee except for a valid tip pooling arrangement limited to employees who customarily and regularly receive tips; and

5) that the tip credit will not apply to any tipped employee unless the employee has been informed of these tip credit provisions.

The employer may provide oral or written notice to its tipped employees informing them of items 1-5 above. An employer who fails to provide the required information cannot use the tip credit provisions and therefore must pay the tipped employee at least $7.25 per hour in wages and allow the tipped employee to keep all tips received.

Employers electing to use the tip credit provision must be able to show that tipped employees receive at least the minimum wage when direct (or cash) wages and the tip credit amount are combined. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct (or cash) wages of at least $2.13 per hour do not equal the minimum hourly wage of $7.25 per hour, the employer must make up the difference.

Retention of Tips: A tip is the sole property of the tipped employee regardless of whether the employer takes a tip credit. [1] The FLSA prohibits any arrangement between the employer and the tipped employee whereby any part of the tip received becomes the property of the employer. For example, even where a tipped employee receives at least $7.25 per hour in wages directly from the employer, the employee may not be required to turn over his or her tips to the employer.

Tip Pooling: As noted above, the requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips. The FLSA does not impose a maximum contribution amount or percentage on valid mandatory tip pools. The employer, however, must notify tipped employees of any required tip pool contribution amount, may only take a tip credit for the amount of tips each tipped employee ultimately receives, and may not retain any of the employees’ tips for any other purpose.

Dual Jobs: When an employee is employed by one employer in both a tipped and a non-tipped occupation, such as an employee employed both as a maintenance person and a waitperson, the tip credit is available only for the hours spent by the employee in the tipped occupation. The FLSA permits an employer to take the tip credit for some time that the tipped employee spends in duties related to the tipped occupation, even though such duties are not by themselves directed toward producing tips. For example, a waitperson who spends some time cleaning and setting tables, making coffee, and occasionally washing dishes or glasses is considered to be engaged in a tipped occupation even though these duties are not tip producing. However, where a tipped employee spends a substantial amount of time (in excess of 20 percent in the workweek) performing related duties, no tip credit may be taken for the time spent in such duties. .

Service Charges: A compulsory charge for service, for example, 15 percent of the bill, is not a tip. Such charges are part of the employer’s gross receipts. Sums distributed to employees from service charges cannot be counted as tips received, but may be used to satisfy the employer’s minimum wage and overtime obligations under the FLSA. If an employee receives tips in addition to the compulsory service charge, those tips may be considered in determining whether the employee is a tipped employee and in the application of the tip credit.

Credit Cards: Where tips are charged on a credit card and the employer must pay the credit card company a percentage on each sale, the employer may pay the employee the tip, less that percentage. For example, where a credit card company charges an employer 3 percent on all sales charged to its credit service, the employer may pay the tipped employee 97 percent of the tips without violating the FLSA. However, this charge on the tip may not reduce the employee’s wage below the required minimum wage. The amount due the employee must be paid no later than the regular pay day and may not be held while the employer is awaiting reimbursement from the credit card company.

Typical Minimum & Overtime Violations for Tipped Employees

Minimum Wage Problems:

    Where a tipped employee does not receive sufficient tips to make up the difference between the direct (or cash) wage payment (which must be at least $2.13 per hour) and the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference & it is an FLSA violation if they don’t do that.

    Where a tipped employee receives tips only and is paid no cash wage, the full minimum wage is owed by the employer to the employee.

    Where deductions for walk-outs, breakage, or cash register shortages reduce the employee’s wages below the minimum wage, such deductions are illegal. Where a tipped employee is paid $2.13 per hour in direct (or cash) wages and the employer claims the maximum tip credit of $5.12 per hour, no such deductions can be made without reducing the employee below the minimum wage (even where the employee receives more than $5.12 per hour in tips).

    Where a tipped employee is required to contribute to a tip pool that includes employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, the employee is owed all tips he or she contributed to the pool and the full $7.25 minimum wage.

Overtime Problems:

    Where the employer takes the tip credit, overtime is calculated on the full minimum wage, not the lower direct (or cash) wage payment. The employer may not take a larger tip credit for an overtime hour than for a straight time hour (i.e., $4.00 tip credit per hour for the nonovertime hours and $5.12 tip credit per hour for overtime hours).

    Where overtime is not paid based on the regular rate including all service charges, commissions, bonuses, and other remuneration.

A Florida labor lawyer can evaluate your claim for free. There is no fee or cost unless we recover overtime and/or minimum wages for you.

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UPDATED: July 2015

TO READ RELATED ARTICLES REGARDING TIPPED EMPLOYEES PLEASE CLICK ANY OF LINKS BELOW

#1 BARTON G RESTAURANTS TO PAY BACK WAGES…

#2 SUBWAY FRANCHISEE ORDERED TO PAY BACK WAGES

Miami-based Barton G. restaurants to pay $28,000 in back wages to 99 low-wage workers for FLSA violations

Barton G. Inc.

Agency Name: Wage & Hour Division (WHD), US Department of Labor

Release Number:  12-512-ATL (160)

Release Date: April 30, 2012

Call (954) 946-8130 for a free telephone consultation with a Florida lawyer about your unpaid overtime and minimum wage claim.

MIAMI — Barton G. Inc., operator of three fine dining establishments, has agreed to pay $28,027 in back wages to 99 employees following investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which found violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). These were disclosed at all of the restaurants: Barton G. The Restaurant in South Beach; Prelude By Barton G. inside the Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts in Miami; and The Villa By Barton G. inside the former Versace Mansion in Miami.

Investigators from the division’s Miami District Office found systemic FLSA violations at the Barton G. restaurants resulting from the company’s failure to properly compensate tip-earning employees, such as servers and bartenders, for all hours of their work. After reviewing payroll records and conducting employee interviews, investigators determined that many employees were made to rely primarily on tips and earned wages that fell below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Barton G. also failed to properly calculate and compensate tipped employees for all overtime hours, those worked in excess of 40 in a week. Additionally, record-keeping violations occurred due to the company’s failure to maintain accurate payroll records, as required under the FLSA. Specifically, in one of the restaurants, servers were paid a percentage of their sales, which is a commission and not a tip.

Following the investigations, Barton G. agreed to pay all back wages due and to maintain future compliance with the FLSA. The company also has committed to changing its payroll system to catch employees whose wages fall below the minimum wage and is training its payroll department to properly calculate overtime for tipped employees.

The restaurant industry employs some of our country’s lowest paid workers who, due to a lack of knowledge of the law or unwillingness to exercise their rights, are vulnerable to disparate treatment and labor violations.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, as well as one and one-half times their regular rates for hours worked over 40 per week. The act also requires that accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained. If certain conditions are met, the FLSA permits an employer to take a tip credit toward its minimum wage obligation for tipped employees. The employer must pay tipped employees a cash wage of $2.13 per hour or the state mandated cash wage, whichever is higher; all tips must be retained by the employee except for contributions to a valid tip pooling arrangement; employees must be informed of the tip credit provision; and the amount of tips plus cash wages must equal at least the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour. Additionally, some states, including Florida, have a higher requirement for the employer’s share of wages.

If you are currently employed as a tipped waiter/waitress in a restaurant and believe that you have been denied minimum and/or overtime pay there  you should consult a labor  attorney to evaluate your potential case.

This post is intended to provide you with information about overtime and wage cases filed throughout the country by other law firms and the government. It serves to give you an idea of the types of issues which are currently being litigated by employment lawyers as well as those which have been “settled.”

As a courtesy to you, we are providing the court name, case number and date filed to facilitate your search for it on the federal PACER website. Current information regarding case status, parties and attorneys is available on PACER to anyone who opens an account with them.

Please also note that some cases we report on were initiated by the Department of Labor and then settled  without having been filed in Federal Court and thus will not be available on the PACER website. For these cases we generally provide a brief summary of the findings and results.

Please feel free to complete the form below for submission to our law firm if you would like more information about your possible employment claim.  A representative will review it and  contact you. Please allow one  business day for someone to contact you and if you do not hear back from us then  it is possible that we did not receive it. This is a FREE consultation and you will not be charged for this call. Also please be advised that, merely by submitting this form, no Attorney-Client relationship is formed with the law firm.  The ONLY way that an Attorney-Client relationship with  the Law Office of Rose H. Robbins is formed is by specifically written  agreement signed by you and the Law Office of Rose H. Robbins.  You must provide your name,  home  or cell phone number and your zip code and all remaining fields are optional.

Ask a Florida Attorney How the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Applies to Tipped Employees?

How are tippled employees defined?

Tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips. Tips are the property of the employee. The employer is prohibited from using an employee’s tips for any reason other than as a credit against its minimum wage obligation to the employee (“tip credit”) or in furtherance of a valid tip pool. Only tips actually received by the employee may be counted in determining whether the employee is a tipped employee and in applying the tip credit.

What is a Tip Credit?

Section 3(m) of the FLSA permits an employer to take a tip credit toward its minimum wage obligation for tipped employees equal to the difference between the required cash wage (which must be at least $2.13) and the federal minimum wage. Thus, the maximum tip credit that an employer can currently claim under the FLSA is $5.12 per hour (the minimum wage of $7.25 minus the minimum required cash wage of $2.13).

What is a Tip Pool?

The requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, such as waiters, waitresses, bellhops, counter personnel (who serve customers), bussers, and service bartenders. A valid tip pool may not include employees who do not customarily and regularly received tips, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors.

Retaliation under FLSA

What are the Requirements imposed by the FLSA?

The employer must provide all of the following information to a tipped employee before the employer may use the tip credit:

1) the amount of cash wage the employer is paying a tipped employee, which must be at least $2.13 per hour;

2) the additional amount claimed by the employer as a tip credit, which cannot exceed $5.12 (the difference between the minimum required cash wage of $2.13 and the current minimum wage of $7.25);

3) that the tip credit claimed by the employer cannot exceed the amount of tips actually received by the tipped employee;

4) that all tips received by the tipped employee are to be retained by the employee except for a valid tip pooling arrangement limited to employees who customarily and regularly receive tips; and

5) that the tip credit will not apply to any tipped employee unless the employee has been informed of these tip credit provisions.

The employer may provide oral or written notice to its tipped employees informing them of items 1-5 above. An employer who fails to provide the required information cannot use the tip credit provisions and therefore must pay the tipped employee at least $7.25 per hour in wages and allow the tipped employee to keep all tips received.

Employers electing to use the tip credit provision must be able to show that tipped employees receive at least the minimum wage when direct (or cash) wages and the tip credit amount are combined. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct (or cash) wages of at least $2.13 per hour do not equal the minimum hourly wage of $7.25 per hour, the employer must make up the difference.

Retention of Tips: A tip is the sole property of the tipped employee regardless of whether the employer takes a tip credit. The FLSA prohibits any arrangement between the employer and the tipped employee whereby any part of the tip received becomes the property of the employer. For example, even where a tipped employee receives at least $7.25 per hour in wages directly from the employer, the employee may not be required to turn over his or her tips to the employer.

Tip Pooling: As noted above, the requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips. The FLSA does not impose a maximum contribution amount or percentage on valid mandatory tip pools. The employer, however, must notify tipped employees of any required tip pool contribution amount, may only take a tip credit for the amount of tips each tipped employee ultimately receives, and may not retain any of the employees’ tips for any other purpose.

Dual Jobs: When an employee is employed by one employer in both a tipped and a non-tipped occupation, such as an employee employed both as a maintenance person and a waitperson, the tip credit is available only for the hours spent by the employee in the tipped occupation. The FLSA permits an employer to take the tip credit for some time that the tipped employee spends in duties related to the tipped occupation, even though such duties are not by themselves directed toward producing tips. For example, a waitperson who spends some time cleaning and setting tables, making coffee, and occasionally washing dishes or glasses is considered to be engaged in a tipped occupation even though these duties are not tip producing. However, where a tipped employee spends a substantial amount of time (in excess of 20 percent in the workweek) performing related duties, no tip credit may be taken for the time spent in such duties. .

Service Charges: A compulsory charge for service, for example, 15 percent of the bill, is not a tip. Such charges are part of the employer’s gross receipts. Sums distributed to employees from service charges cannot be counted as tips received, but may be used to satisfy the employer’s minimum wage and overtime obligations under the FLSA. If an employee receives tips in addition to the compulsory service charge, those tips may be considered in determining whether the employee is a tipped employee and in the application of the tip credit.

Credit Cards: Where tips are charged on a credit card and the employer must pay the credit card company a percentage on each sale, the employer may pay the employee the tip, less that percentage. For example, where a credit card company charges an employer 3 percent on all sales charged to its credit service, the employer may pay the tipped employee 97 percent of the tips without violating the FLSA. However, this charge on the tip may not reduce the employee’s wage below the required minimum wage. The amount due the employee must be paid no later than the regular pay day and may not be held while the employer is awaiting reimbursement from the credit card company.

Youth Minimum Wage: The 1996 Amendments to the FLSA allow employers to pay a youth minimum wage of not less than $4.25 per hour to employees who are under 20 years of age during the first 90 consecutive calendar days after initial employment by their employer. The law contains certain protections for employees that prohibit employers from displacing any employee in order to hire someone at the youth minimum wage.

What are Some Typical Problems?

Minimum Wage Problems:

· Where an employee does not receive sufficient tips to make up the difference between the direct (or cash) wage payment (which must be at least $2.13 per hour) and the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference.

· Where an employee receives tips only and is paid no cash wage, the full minimum wage is owed.

· Where deductions for walk-outs, breakage, or cash register shortages reduce the employee’s wages below the minimum wage, such deductions are illegal. Where a tipped employee is paid $2.13 per hour in direct (or cash) wages and the employer claims the maximum tip credit of $5.12 per hour, no such deductions can be made without reducing the employee below the minimum wage (even where the employee receives more than $5.12 per hour in tips).

· Where a tipped employee is required to contribute to a tip pool that includes employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, the employee is owed all tips he or she contributed to the pool and the full $7.25 minimum wage.

Overtime Problems:

· Where the employer takes the tip credit, overtime is calculated on the full minimum wage, not the lower direct (or cash) wage payment. The employer may not take a larger tip credit for an overtime hour than for a straight time hour (i.e., $4.00 tip credit per hour for the nonovertime hours and $5.12 tip credit per hour for overtime hours).

· Where overtime is not paid based on the regular rate including all service charges, commissions, bonuses, and other remuneration.

Generally, if you have not been paid properly, Florida and Federal labor laws can help  you  recover any unpaid wages accrued over the previous two years.  In some cases, the law allows you to recover unpaid wages that accrued more than two years ago.  Additionally, in virtually all situations, if an employer has not paid you properly, you are entitled to double the amount of your actual unpaid wages AND the employer is required to pay you for the attorney’s fees and costs associated with a lawsuit.

A labor law attorney can undertake any litigation arising from this investigation on a contingent fee basis. If a lawsuit is filed as a result of this investigation, we will only seek payment of any fees from recovery generated by the lawsuit. This means any fee we receive will be paid by the defendant or out of any settlement or judgment recovered.  Likewise, all costs will be advanced by us. If an action is filed and not successful, you would not be responsible for any of our fees or costs. If you wish to discuss this investigation and any potential legal options you may have, or if you have any questions please contact our law office.

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