The minimum wage for tipped employees at the federal level (as listed on the Department of Labor’s website) goes as:
- The minimum cash wage is $2.13.
- The maximum tip credit against the minimum wage is $5.12.
- And the basic combined cash and tip minimum wage rate is the full minimum wage – $7.25.
The above is the federal minimum wage for tipped employees with further differentiation occurring by state. We are going to look at Ohio’s tipped employee minimum wage specifically below!
And keep in mind that having an idea of the minimum wage for tipped employees can help you identify if you are not receiving the correct wages for your work and better understand your rights as a tipped employee, whether you are working in the restaurant industry, hospitality industry, or elsewhere.
What is the Tipped Employee Minimum Wage in Ohio?
According to the Ohio Department of Commerce, the current tipped employee minimum wage is $4.40 in Ohio for 2021.
A tipped employee is considered an employee “who engages in an occupation in which he/she customarily and regularly receives more than thirty dollars ($30.00) per month in tips.” And for employers that choose to use the tip credit provision, they have to be able to ” show that tipped employees receive at least the minimum wage when direct or cash wages and the tip credit amount are combined.”
What do Do Tip Credits mean for Minimum Wage Tipped Employees?
In relation to the tipped employee minimum wage, what do tip credits mean? Tip credits, mentioned above, allow employers to pay tipped employees less than the full minimum wage since they are also earning tips.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows a tip credit of $5.12 against the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. But in the state of Ohio, employers can pay tipped employees half the state’s minimum wage which is why the current tipped employee minimum wage is $4.40.
Ohio’s state minimum wage is $8.80, as of 2021, for non-tipped employees.
So if you are not earning the minimum wage through a combination of your tips and wages, then that indicates that the tip credit is too high. Your employer should be making up the difference in wages so that you are at least making the full minimum wage rate.
For more information about tip credits and tip pools, check out our page here.
What Should I Do If I’m Not Receiving Accurate Wages As a Tipped Employee – Minimum Wage?
Now that we know what the minimum wage for tipped employees in Ohio is, let’s shortly look at a few different ways that minimum wage violations may occur:
- An employee is not properly and adequately informed of all the required tip credit provisions before a tip credit is applied
- An employee is paid entirely in tips with no cash wage being paid by their employers
- If the employer calculates overtime pay incorrectly
- If the employee performs substantial non-tip generating work but is only paid at the tipped minimum wage rate
- The employer applies for an incorrect tip credit
- The employer does not pay additional cash wages where an employee does not earn enough tips to meet or exceed the tip credit
- Tip pool funds are shared with non-tipped employees, including but not limited to management (“the house”)
There are several specific rules that are in place for the tipped employee minimum wage, both under FLSA and Ohio employment law.
If you are one of many minimum wages tipped employees in the state of Ohio, you might have further questions or concerns tied to your right to minimum wage. And if the wages that you are paid are not amounting to the state or federal minimum wage for each hour that you work, then you might have a potential claim against your employer.
Speaking with an experienced minimum wage lawyer who specializes in the minimum wage and other areas such as unpaid wage violations, tipped employees, and prevailing wages is recommended.
You can contact the experienced employment attorneys of Coffman Legal LLC at 614-949-1181 or online today for a free and confidential consultation if you believe that your employer is paying you incorrectly.