When you work in the service industry in New York, tips make up a percentage of your income. But contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t mean that your employer can pay you less than minimum wage. If you are not making minimum wage at your current job, you might have grounds for a wage and hour lawsuit.
How are wages different for tipped employees?
In the state of New York, employers are required to pay you minimum wage no matter what industry you work in. If you earn tips on the job, your employer doesn’t have to pay you a certain amount of your wages as long as you receive that amount in tips. This amount is known as a “tip credit.” For example, if you’re a food service worker earning $10 an hour, the restaurant doesn’t have to pay you the extra $5 if you make that amount of tips.
However, that doesn’t mean that employers don’t have to pay the tip credit at all. By law, employers are required to keep track of the amount that you make in tips during your shift. If you fall short of minimum wage, your employer is supposed to pay you the rest to make up the difference.
The law requires your employer to give you a written notice informing you of the amount that they claim as tip credit. They are also required to notify you that they must pay the difference if you don’t make minimum wage after tips are collected. If your employer doesn’t pay the difference, they might be in violation of wage and hour laws.
Has your employer committed wage theft?
Wage theft is the act of refusing to pay employees the wages that they have earned according to state and federal laws. This includes paying less than minimum wage, not paying you for overtime hours and illegally reducing your pay. Your employer might be committing wage theft if they’re not paying you minimum wage after you’ve received your tips.