How Tips Work In Virginia

As a law firm that practices employment law, we encounter several different types of issues that people experience in the workplace. Regardless of your industry, your employees will likely never want to lose money or have their time wasted. Reclaiming unpaid wages is an issue that could lead to litigation or possibly imprisonment. Virginia’s Wage Theft Law states the employer can be charged with a felony if they owe more than $10,000 and have a previous, related offense. 

Being unaware of employment laws is not a sufficient excuse. For example, a restaurant owner could find themselves in legal trouble by not understanding how tips get incorporated into an employee’s wages. Furthermore, every employee who receives tips should know how this works, so they can ensure they receive fair compensation for the services they provide. 

How Do Tips Work? 

Where does that money go when you add a tip to the bill? Most of us assume it goes to the employee who waited on us; it’s extra money. However, Virginia allows employers to take a tip credit. That means employers can use tips to ensure their employees receive at least minimum wage. Whereas the federal minimum wage is $ 7.25 an hour, the minimum wage in Virginia will increase to $12 an hour in 2023. 

Because of tip credits, Virginia employers may not have to pay the full amount. To make things easy, imagine an employee who works for one hour in 2023 and earns $6 in tips. The employer would only have to pay that person an additional $6 to ensure the employee is walking away earning the minimum wage. 

Be Aware of Non-Tipped Positions

Employees who make tips may spend a portion of their workday doing work where they aren’t going to be tipped. For example, think of a person who works at a bar. This person makes drinks, interacts with patrons, and receives tips for seven hours. He sweeps the floors, cleans tables, and does preparatory work for the bar for one hour a day. During that time, he will not be getting tipped. 

Can the employer claim a tip credit for that last hour? They can as long as the employee performs duties related to their original job. This could happen during their shift, before, or after. If the non-tipped tasks are unrelated or are performed with (or near) the tipped duties, then the employer cannot take a tip credit for these hours. In other words, the employer must pay the employee’s wages themselves. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Up For Yourself 

Employees rely on their jobs, and it is understandable that they would be hesitant to stand up to an employer who owes them wages. However, you are protected from retaliation. Regardless of how big your employer’s company is, we can represent you for issues concerning unpaid overtime and wages. The Law Offices of Robert Dawson have significant experience with wrongful terminations, discrimination, and harassment. Contact us to schedule your consultation.

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Law Office of Robert Dawson

You have more power than you realize. If you need a professional attorney who has built a reputation within employment and business law, contact the Law Offices of Robert Dawson. We are passionate about protecting our clients and pursuing their interests. Contact us for tailored legal solutions.

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