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Employee rights to wages for tipped workers

Many people in New York State work at jobs with much of the income based on tips. These individuals might not fully understand that they still have certain employee rights within the context of their tipped incomes. For example, there is supposed to be a basic hourly wage rate that is contingent on how much they make in tips. In addition, these workers are supposed to receive overtime. When violations are being perpetrated against tipped workers, they must realize that they have the right to be compensated in a legal filing.

The employer can pay a worker less than the minimum wage in New York if the following circumstances are in place: the worker regularly gets tips as part of the job; the hourly amount when combining tips and wages reaches the minimum wage; the employer told the worker that he or she is receiving less than minimum wage because of the tips that are regularly received; and the employer has a weekly record of what the employees earn in tips on a weekly basis.

The employer is obligated to pay certain workers a basic hourly rate that hinges on the tips. If it is a restaurant or hotel service employee, the hourly rate is $5.65 if the tips come to $2.65 per hour. Overtime will be $9.65 per hour. If it is a food service worker, it is $5.00 per hour if the tips come to at least $3.00 per hour. Overtime is $9.00 per hour. Other types of businesses will pay $6.05 per hour if the tips come to a minimum of $1.95 per hour. Overtime is $10.05 per hour.

Service industries are often a hotbed for violations and the failure to adhere to employee rights. If there is a wage claim, an overtime claim, an employer not meeting the minimum required for hourly pay, or any other violation of employment law, it might be possible to file a case for compensation. Discussing the matter with a legal professional can help to determine if there was a violation and what to do about it.

Source:, "Wages Frequently Asked Questions -- 3.," accessed on June 20, 2017

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