How Florida Employers Engage In Wage Theft With Tipped Employees
For those who work in Florida hospitality, food service, restaurants, delivery services, and related fields, tips are likely a large percentage of your income. While other employees earn the straight wages, your earnings are a product of being in a customer-facing position. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), there are numerous provisions that apply to the specific situation of tipped employees. Employers are allowed to use a tip credit, and many do exercise this option. The company must pay at least $2.13 in direct wages and, when added to tips, this amount must equal the minimum wage. Employers are required to make up the difference if the total falls short.
However, not all companies comply with wage regulations for tipped employees, while some make mistakes or misunderstand the laws. Regardless of the reasons behind their violation of FLSA requirements, the situation may amount to wage theft. You do have rights, and a West Palm Beach employment lawyer will help you enforce them. Some answers to common questions are also helpful.
Who is a tipped employee under FLSA? The statute dictates that any worker who earns more than $30 a month in tips is a tipped employee. An employer must pay at least $2.13 in direct wages when taking the tip credit, and then fill the gap when wages plus tips do not meet the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
However, the minimum wage in Florida for 2023 is $11 per hour. Companies operating within the state must comply with the higher amount, so the base wage they must pay is $7.98 per hour. If the employee does not earn at least $3.02 per hour to meet the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference.
What acts are prohibited with regards to tips? Employers are barred from engaging in the following illegal acts:
- Withholding tips, under any circumstances;
- Creating unlawful tip “pools” that accumulate the amounts from all employees, which depends upon the tip credit; and,
- Allowing managers and supervisors to participate in tip pools.
How do employers engage in wage theft with tipped workers? One of the key problems with wage theft and tipped employees involves the tip credit. An employer can opt in or out, creating confusion about what you are entitled to as wages. Plus, some companies will have tipped employees perform tasks that are NOT tip-earning, but they pay only the lower base wage.
What can I do about wage theft? You may qualify to file a wage theft claim against your employer for misconduct, and it is possible to recover back pay, interest, and other compensation. You must notify your employer of the problem, but you can take legal action if the company refuses to comply.
A Florida Wage Theft and Disputes Lawyer Can Answer Additional Questions
This information is useful, but you will need personalized advice to understand your options. You can trust Sconzo Law Office to assist with important tasks, so please contact us at 561-279-6114 or via our website. We are happy to schedule a free case evaluation at our Palm Beach Gardens office.