You take a new job as a server or a bartender. You know that much of your earnings will come through tips. You consider it one of the perks of the job, as you’re very good with people and you assume you’ll make a fair amount.
But what does it mean for your wages from your employer? How much do you need to get paid?
All employees have to be paid at least minimum wage. In New Jersey, that is $8.85 per hour. You can never legally earn less than this.
However, your employer can factor your tips into the equation. They only have to pay you $2.13 per hour from the business itself. You can earn the other $6.72 per hour in tips. This brings you up to the state minimum wage of $8.85.
What if you do not make an average of $6.72 per hour in tips? This is when your employer needs to increase your earnings to make up the difference. If you only earned $2.00 per hour in tips, for instance, they would need to pay you $6.85 per hour to make sure that you still got at least minimum wage.
Problems arise when employers fail to this. Unfortunately, some stick to the $2.13 per hour and tell employees that is all they are obligated to pay, for instance, even when employees report tips that are too low to ensure minimum wage.
If something like this happens to you, it is crucial that you know all of the rights and legal options you have under wage and hour laws in New Jersey.