How Does Overtime Work for Tipped Employees in Florida?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a key federal law that establishes basic protections for many workers in Florida. Non-exempt employees who are covered by the law are entitled to overtime pay (1.5 times their hourly wage) when they work more than 40 hours in a given week.
How the FLSA applies to tipped employees is one of the most misunderstood areas of labor law. In this article, our West Palm Beach employment lawyers offer an overview of how tipped employees are treated under overtime laws.
Most Tipped Employees are Eligible for Overtime Pay
First and foremost, employers and employees should know that tipped employees are eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. There is a common misconception—among both companies and workers—that the minimum wage exception for tipped employees also creates an overtime exemption. Not true.
There is no special overtime pay exemption for tipped workers. If a tipped employee meets the standards of a non-exempt worker—which the majority of them do—then they must be paid at an overtime rate for all hours beyond 40 in a week.
Calculating Overtime Wages for Tipped Employees in Florida
Understanding that tipped employees are usually covered by the FLSA’s overtime requirements is the easy part. Figuring out exactly how to calculate a tipped worker’s overtime wages is where things can get far more confusing. The calculation depends, in large part, on the individual employee rate of pay and how tips are distributed.
In Florida, the minimum wage is $8.56 per hour for most employees and $5.54 per hour for tipped workers (2020). In other words, Florida employers can take a $3.02 wage credit for all tipped employees. As long as an employee makes at least $3.02 in tips, Florida employers can pay them $5.54 per hour.
To be clear, an employer cannot necessarily take a larger wage credit for overtime hours. The maximum wage credit in Florida is $3.02 per hour. This is where some employers miscalculate a tipped worker’s overtime pay. Companies do not get to multiply the wage credit by 1.5x when calculating overtime pay. With limited exceptions, the tip wage credit is still $3.02 per hour.
If you or your loved one is a tipped employee and you believe that you have been wrongly denied overtime pay in violation of the FLSA, you should consult with an experienced Florida wage and hour lawyer. During a confidential consultation, a lawyer will be able to help you review your rights and options.
Call our South Florida Wage and Hour Lawyers for Immediate Help With Your Case
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our experienced Florida unpaid overtime attorneys have the skills and experience to handle the full range of claims involving tipped employees. If you have questions about tipped employee rights or overtime pay in general, we can help. Call us now for a confidential consultation. With law offices in West Palm Beach and Miami, we handle unpaid overtime claims throughout South Florida.