There exists a popular misconception (or deliberate ignorance) among restaurant owners, supervisors, and employers that they are not obliged to abide by the Fair Labor Standards Act and its rules concerning overtime, tips, and wages. If you are working as a restaurant server in Georgia, here are the four things you need to know about your wage and overtime rights.
1. Minimum Wage
As per the Fair Labor Standards Act, the serving staff working in restaurants, cafés, and hotels is obliged to complete 40-hours of work in a single work week and the time worked in excess to this standard should be compensated as overtime. The FLSA has set a fixed minimum hourly limit of $7.25 for hourly employees. Your wage is subject to variations — it may increase depending on your tips (if you are a tipped employee) or additional hours worked. $7.25 per hour or $290 per a standard work week (40 hours) — this is the statutory minimum hourly wage you are entitled to make and anything less than that is a violation of FLSA rules on your employer’s part.
Georgia does not have its own set of state laws governing hourly wages and therefore, follows the federal law rulings on wage, tips, and overtime. According to the FLSA, employers at a restaurant maybe allowed to claim a part of or the entire tip amount collected by a server during the work hours. It is the prerogative of the employer to classify their hourly employees as tipped or non-tipped. If the servers are identified as tipped, the employer can adjust $5.12 per hour as tip credit in the minimum hourly wage of $7.25. Which means that the employee is being paid an hourly rate of $2.13. In case, the tips earned plus $2.13 minimum wage does not add up to $7.25 per hour, the employer is obliged to compensate the difference.
A restaurant server is often required to stay back late, outside of their regular shift hours, especially during the peak rush hours. If you have already completed your standard shift hours and are working overtime, you are lawfully entitled to receive additional wage as per your regular rate, for each extra hour worked.
Deductions for damages, and fines and penalties for misconduct or service shortcoming are to be made from your pay. However, if you have only earned the minimum fixed wage as per your hourly rate, the employer cannot make any deductions in your payroll that cuts into your minimum wage amount.
If you are a restaurant server who is not being paid fair wages, and you would like to speak to a qualified attorney, please contact The Vaughn Law Firm at 877-615-9495.