Small Business Services
How do I compute overtime for tipped employees ?
An employer must pay its employees at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, and time and one-half overtime pay based on an employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek unless the employee is exempt for some reason. The minimum wage and overtime pay are based on the hours worked each workweek and not by the number of hours worked each day or the number of days worked. Each workweek stands on its own regardless of the length of the pay periods. For purposes of overtime pay, employers of tipped employees must calculate the time and one-half overtime pay based on the employee’s regular rate of pay, which includes both the cash wage paid to the employee and the tip credit counted as wages for the employee at least equal to the minimum wage, which becomes the regular rate of pay for a tipped employee. Employers must apply tipped employees' hourly wage rate when determining overtime compensation. That rate can never be less than the minimum wage even if the employer is actually paying less by taking a tip credit. Take the example of a waiter who receives $2.13 an hour and enough in tips to make at least the minimum wage per hour. The employee's overtime wage would be 150 percent of $7.25 --- the standard minimum wage --- rather than $2.13. If the waiter receives a base wage higher than $7.25, in addition to tips, 150 percent of that higher amount would be his overtime wage.
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