If I am a receive tips for a portion of the time I am on the clock, should I get minimum wage for the untipped time?

I receive pooled tips at a restaurant and get paid $4.23 an hour but only get tipped for a portion of the time I am on the clock. There is about an hour of mandatory work that I do not receive tips but still get paid $4.23 instead of the standard minimum wage.

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The law does not consider it hour by hour, but rather on the basis of the work week.

For a work week, the tips you receive, plus the hourly wage for the number of hours, must equal or exceed receiving minimum wage for the number of hours you worked. Consider a 40-hour work week: you should earn at least $290  (using the $7.25/hour federal minimum). Say you were paid (using $4.25 per hour, to make the math simple) $170 in wages. As long as, for that week, you received at least $120 in tips, you were paid adequately. In practice, some hours you'll earn much more than minimum; other hours, you'll earn less; but as long as, in the aggregate, you are earning minimum wage or better, that is ok.

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