All service industry employees who earn tips should know they have rights to a fair and minimum wage. In St. Louis and throughout Missouri, employers are permitted to implement a process called tip pooling which can affect your paycheck. Unfortunately, employees are sometimes paid improperly.
The good news is that there are very specific rules and limitations regarding tipping in order to protect the rights of the employee.
What IS Tip Pooling?
Tip-pooling occurs when gratuities are shared among staff that assists in serving customers as part of their regular job duties.
As a tipped employee, your employer can pay you less than the minimum hourly wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as long as you receive enough in tips to make up the difference. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) spells out the guidelines for tipped employees.
- Every employer is required to pay a minimum wage per hour to employees. For example, this is $9.45 per hour in Missouri in 2020.
- An employer may require tipped employees to contribute a portion of their tips to a tip pool
- An employer can pay less than the minimum amount per hour to tipped employees, but the employee must still make the minimum legal hourly rate
- Tipped employees are traditionally defined as employees who “customarily and regularly” receive gratuities
- A tip pool requires that all of the employees in the tip pool “customarily and regularly” receive tips, which does not usually include managers and supervisors
- OVERTIME HOURS: Tipped employees must get 1.5 times the minimum wage, not 1.5 times their regular rate.
The Facts About Tip-Pooling Laws: Are You Getting Your Fair Share?
The tip-pooling FLSA regulations make it clear that:
- tips are the property of the employee
- an employer cannot use an employee’s tips for any reason other than as a credit against its wage obligations to the employee
And perhaps most importantly, if any hourly employee is required by their job to share their tips with other employees who do not consistently receive tips (like a manager or supervisor or “back of the house” staff), the employer cannot take the tip credit and must pay its hourly employees the minimum wage.
Take Legal Action for Tipping Violations
Servers in Missouri work hard for their money and many rely on tips as a large portion of their income. When it’s time to choose an employment lawyer, pay attention to the lawyer’s knowledge and experience. In wage-related legal matters, it is important to speak to a professional familiar with the laws in your state.
If you are a server, bartender, valet, or other employee in Missouri or Illinois who depends on tips and if you believe that your employer is abusing tip-pool laws, call us Ross & Voytas, LLC. We handle all types of wage claims in Missouri and Illinois. Not only will we answer your questions, but we will provide legal guidance and represent you in a lawsuit against your employer if needed.
Ross & Voytas, LLC are trial lawyers with big firm experience and small firm values. We combine objective advice with the tactical know-how to obtain the compensation you deserve.
The attorneys at Ross & Voytas bring more than thirty years of combined courtroom and litigation experience to support your rights. Clients have given our St. Louis law firm multiple 5-star reviews and we handle difficult cases.
As natives to St. Louis and licensed in Missouri, Illinois, and various federal courts, Nate Ross and Rick Voytas provide knowledge and personal attention to your legal matter.
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