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Wage And Hour Laws For Hospitality Employers


Let’s face it — people work for one main reason: money. Employers may try to take advantage of this, but there are laws that need to be followed.

The hospitality industry is a fast-paced industry that is prone to wage and hour disputes. The hospitality industry comprises four main sectors: travel and tourism, food and beverage, recreation, and lodging. These areas, particularly restaurants and hotels, are getting hit with huge lawsuits for pay violations.

Hospitality employers need to be aware of the top issues so they can stay in compliance with wage and hour laws. Here are some things they need to consider.

Tip Credit

Employers are allowed to pay tipped employees below the federal minimum wage of $2.13 per hour and take the “tip credit” of up to $5.12 per hour to make up the difference. A tipped employee is one who regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. The direct wage and tip must equal the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. If you rely on the tip credit, then you need to provide proper notice. If you fail to do so, then you must pay employees the full amount of minimum wage for all hours worked. Also, note that you can only take the tip credit for the “tip-producing work.” If a tipped employee spends more than 20% of working hours or more than 30 minutes at a time doing side work, then you cannot take a tip credit for that work.

Tip Pools

Tip pooling refers to the collection of tips received by employees into a pool and distributing them to all the tipped employees. Keep in mind that this pool is limited to “tipped employees.” Supervisors, managers, and owners are not allowed to participate. However, if they wait tables and receive tips, they can keep those tips.

Minors as Employees

There are restrictions for child workers. There are restrictions on the number of hours a minor can work, as well as the times of day they can work. For example, 14-15-year-olds must work outside of school hours no more than three hours on school days with an eight-hour limit on non-school days for a total of 15 hours in a school week and 40 in a nonschool week. Children who are 16 or 17 years olds are limited to a 30-hour workweek when school is in session, but there are no limitations when school is out.

Proper Classification

Employees must be paid overtime unless they are exempt, which means they must be paid on a salary basis and meet certain requirements. Are your workers classified properly? Consider each position to determine if they are exempt or non-exempt.

Seek Legal Help

All employers need to ensure their workers are getting paid properly. When disputes arise, they can lead to lawsuits.

Fort Lauderdale business litigation lawyer Edward J. Jennings,  P.A. can help you resolve your business disputes. We’ll give your case our full attention. Call 954-764-4330 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.



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