I spend part of my time at work performing duties that I do not earn tips for. Should I still be making the same wages as when I do earn tips?

As a tipped employee in a restaurant, hotel, or other place of business, you know that tips can be a little unpredictable. Sometimes, the tips are great, and other times you can go hours without making a single dollar in tips. However, what happens when you receive a tip-earning salary at work, which is usually below minimum wage, when you are not performing tip-earning duties?

Many tipped employees are used to filling in as needed during slow times, and it’s not unusual to help in the back, work the register, or pitch in to help coworkers. While it is not a problem when it happens once in a while, it may start to feel unfair if it is a regular occurrence. After all, the employees who usually perform this task make far more per hour than you do when tips aren’t figured in. While it can be complicated to determine if you’re being paid correctly for the job duties you perform, it is possible to get answers and potentially recover back pay if there is a problem.

Overtime laws are very complicated, and sometimes even employers make mistakes. It’s easy to ask a tipped employee to step into other roles when workflow dictates the need, but employers don’t always realize they are also taking advantage of vulnerable employees and breaking the law when this becomes a usual practice. While it’s understood that employees may fill in during busy periods, the law makes it clear that they must be paid appropriately if these additional job duties become a part of their regular terms of employment.

If you are confused by wage and tip laws, reach out to our team today for fast, personalized assistance with your questions. And, for more information about protecting your rights while you get answers, request your free copy of our book, 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage & Overtime Claim.

Galvin B. Kennedy
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Galvin Kennedy is a founding partner of Kennedy Hodges. He focuses his practice to overtime and wage claims.