Some employers engage in pay practices that cause their workers’ pay to fall below the minimum hourly wages required by law. Our attorneys help employees recover their minimum wages.
Minimum Wage Details
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally requires employers to pay a minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour, to non-exempt employees. Many states also have their own minimum wage laws, many of which are higher than federal law. When an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the higher minimum wage applies. You can find your state’s minimum wage at the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.
If you are an employee who regularly and customarily receives more than $30 in tips a month, federal law allows your employer to pay you a wage below the federal minimum rate under certain circumstances. This is called a tip credit. Your employer can take a tip credit if it notifies you that it is doing so and provides you with the appropriate information.
A tip credit allows your employer to count some of your tips towards its wage payment obligations, but only if you earn enough tips to cover the difference between your reduced wage rate and the normal federal minimum wage. During slow weeks when you make little to no tips, you employer may need to pay you a greater wage to ensure you are at least earning the federal minimum. Federal law does allow employers to require tipped employees to pool their tips in a valid sharing arrangement. For example, if an employer does not take a tip credit (employer pays tipped workers the full minimum wage), it may be legal for that employer to impose a tip-pooling arrangement that includes dishwashers, cooks, or other employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips. States, like Minnesota, may have different tip pooling laws that do not allow an employer to require tipped employees to share or pool their tips with any other employees.
Examples of Potential Minimum Wage Violations
Work-related expenditures that bring a worker’s pay below the minimum wage (e.g., uniforms, unreimbursed gas/mileage).
Employers that require employees to work off-the-clock, causing the employee's compensation to fall below the minimum wage for all hours worked.
A restaurant requires servers receiving the tip credit to participate in a tip pool with kitchen staff.
A coffee shop pockets a portion of a valid tip pool among baristas.
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