Georgia Wage and Hour Claims: Restaurant Workers and Tipped Employees Laws

Many restaurant workers in Georgia rely on tips to support themselves and their family. Tipped workers have important legal rights. We want to make sure that all restaurant workers and tipped employees have the tools and information that they need to protect themselves. Here, our Georgia wage and hour lawyers highlight five things that restaurant workers should know about tipped employee laws.

  1. Tipped Employees Must Regularly Make At Least $30 a Month in Tips

As a starting point, it is important to understand that workers can only be classified as ‘tipped employees’ if they actually make tips on a regular basis. As explained by the United States Department of Labor (DOL), restaurant workers must customarily and regularly receive at least $30 per month in tips to even be considered a tipped employee.

  1. Restaurant Workers are Always Owed a Minimum Wage

All tipped employees must be paid a minimum wage. As noted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, most restaurant industry employees in Georgia are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act — meaning they are owed at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. While the tipped employee minimum wage that comes from an employer is only $2.13, employers are required to make up the difference if an employee’s tips are not enough to get them above minimum wage during a pay period.

  1. Employers Can Require Some Form of Tip Pooling

Employers are allowed to require restaurant workers to engage in a tip pooling system or tip sharing system. However, there are some rules and regulations regarding how precisely tip pooling can be implemented. If you believe that your employer is making you pool or share tips in an unfair or illegal manner, call a Georgia wage and hour lawyer for help.  

  1. Tipped Employees May Be Owed Overtime Pay 

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), restaurant workers are owed a minimum wage. Even as a tipped worker, you are still owed a minimum wage. Your employer should pay you time and a half for any hours you work beyond 40 hours in a given week. The time and a half rate is higher than 1.5  times $2.13 per hour. This is because maximum tip wage credit for employers is still $5.12 per hour.

  1. Wage Credits Can Only Be Claim for Hours Worked in a ‘Tipped Position’

Some restaurant industry employees are required to work some of their hours in ‘tipped positions’ and some of their hours in a ‘non tipped position’. If you are moved over to a non tipped position, your employer cannot pay you $2.13 an hour. The company must pay at least the federal minimum wage for your non tipped hours. Employers cannot claim the tipping credit for these hours.

Speak to Our Georgia Wage and Hour Claims Attorneys Right Away

At the Vaughn Law Firm, our Georgia employment law attorneys have the skills and experience needed to represent restaurant workers in the full range of wage and hour claims, including those involving tip violations. For a free, no obligation initial consultation, please contact our legal team today. From our law office in Decatur, we serve restaurant employees and service workers throughout North Georgia.