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As a tipped employee, must I be paid the minimum wage?

Unfortunately, tipped employees such as restaurant workers are frequently victims of wage and hour violations. In many cases, employers simply do not understand the wage and hour laws for tipped workers and end up paying them less than the law mandates. Other times, the employer may willfully attempt to pay an employee less.

As you probably know, the current minimum wage for regular employees in Florida is $8.05 per hour as of January 2016. It is a pretty straightforward law, but admittedly, it is a bit more complicated for tipped employees. However, the tipped worker is still entitled to minimum wage by law. Eligible employers are allowed to pay a tipped employee less per hour by using what is called a tip credit. This is assuming a worker still earns the minimum wage by factoring in his or her tips.

Even with the tip credit, an employer must still pay a worker a direct wage. This wage is calculated to be equal to the current minimum minus the allowable tip credit. As such, a tipped worker's direct wage should be at least $5.03 per hour with an employer tip credit of $3.02.

As a tipped worker, you are allowed to take action against your employer if you are not paid at least $8.05 per hour in total, including your direct wage and your tips. If you are not earning the minimum wage, you may want to talk about your situation with a wage and hour attorney who serves Miami residents. It is possible you may have grounds to seek legal action against your employer for violating the state's wage and hour laws.

Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, "Florida’s Minimum Wage," accessed June 14, 2016

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