As an employee, you work hard to provide excellent customer service and earn gratuities. Unfortunately, some employers may pocket some of those tips, which is unfair and illegal. This guide explores the federal and New Jersey laws regarding tipped employees to help you recognize and report tip violations. You deserve full compensation for your hard work and dedication. Read on to learn more.
The Legal Framework of Tipping Laws
A tipped employee is a worker who regularly receives more than $30 in tips each month. Examples include waiters/waitresses, bartenders, hairdressers, and bellhops. The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour, while the New Jersey minimum is $5.26 per hour. However, the employer must make up for the difference if a worker’s tips and hourly wage do not equal the minimum wage.
Tip credits are federal and state law provisions allowing employers to pay a lower hourly wage to workers, with expectations the employee will earn tips to make up for the difference. The maximum tip credit an employer can take is $8.87 per hour in New Jersey, meaning the employer must pay the employee at least $5.26 per hour. The federal maximum tip credit is $5.12 per hour, with a minimum cash wage of $2.13 per hour for tipped employees.
Employers must keep accurate records of all tips received by tipped employees, including credit card tips and tips received through a tip pool. They should keep records of the hours for tipped employees and the earned tips during each shift. Employers must keep these records for at least three years and avail them for government inspection upon request.
If you’re a tipped employee, you’ve certain rights under federal and New Jersey laws. These rights include the right to retain all tips received, the right to be paid at least the minimum wage, and the right to keep tips even if the employer takes a tip credit. The law requires employers to inform employees of their tip credit, and you can review your payroll records.
If you believe your employer has violated your rights, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor. The complaint should include specific details about the violation, such as the incident’s date and time, the witnesses’ names, and other related evidence.
How to Protect Your Tipped Employee Rights
To safeguard your rights as a tipped employee, here are helpful tips:
- Know your rights: Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations governing your industry and your state’s tipped employee-specific laws.
- Keep accurate records: Keep a record of tips received and ensure your employer records them appropriately.
- Seek legal advice: If you have experienced wage theft or other violations of your rights, seek legal advice from a qualified attorney.
Stand Up for Your Rights Today
As a tipped employee, you have the right to fair compensation for your hard work, and the law is on your side. You must understand these rights and take action if you suspect your employer is taking some of your tips. If you experience violations, don’t hesitate to consult a reliable attorney for help.