You deserve fair payment for the work and hours you put in for your employer. While most employers aim to treat workers favorably and pay them as required by law, some companies try to cut costs by shorting employee wages. Minimum wage laws were put in place to protect employees, as well as ensure that workers in all industries receive livable compensation.
Federal and State Minimum Wage Requirements
Each state can set its own minimum wage, but it cannot be lower than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In Florida, employees are entitled to a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour.
This calculation is a bit different for tipped employees, however. Employers may use a tip credit to reduce the wage that they pay tipped employees who receive more than $30 per month in gratuities. In Florida, the maximum tip credit is $3.02, setting an effective minimum wage of $5.23 for tipped employees.
Underpayment of Tipped Employees
Some tipped workers do not understand their rights, making them a common target for employers that are trying to reduce labor expenses. As a tipped employee, you should always remember that your wage should never be below $8.25 per hour. When your tips do not make up the $3.02 tip credit, your employer must make up the difference.
What’s more, employers cannot reduce an employee’s pay below minimum wage by deducting money for walkouts, cash register shortages, or equipment broken. Managers and owners also cannot take any part of an employee’s tips. This is considered tip theft.
If you work in both tipped and non-tipped roles, your employer cannot pay you the tipped wage for all of your hours. They must pay the standard minimum wage for all hours that you work in your non-tipped position.
Any of these circumstances may mean that you are owed unpaid wages.
Seeking Repayment of Unpaid Wages
A request for unpaid wages must be made directly to your employer in writing. The request must include the wages you believe you are owed, the unpaid hours you worked, and the dates on which payment violations occurred.
Challenging an employer puts employees in an uncomfortable position, which is one reason that some companies continue to take advantage of employees and underpay them. Working with an experienced unemployment lawyer can help you avoid employer confrontations , while simultaneously protecting yourself against retaliation.
The process of claiming unpaid wages involves a substantial amount of paperwork and documentation. If you believe you have been paid below minimum wage, call the Law Office of Keith M. Stern, P.A. at (305) 901-1379 so that you can collect the money you rightfully deserve.