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Laws regarding tipped employees

Employees in Missouri who receive tips as part of their compensation may think they are entitled to the same hourly wage that other employees are. However, the laws regarding tipped employees are different, and it is a good idea for workers to understand how and what they are getting paid so there is no confusion when they look at their paycheck.

According to the Missouri government, the regular hourly minimum wage in the state is $7.85 and employers are required to pay tipped employees half of this, or $3.925. If the employee does not earn enough in tips to meet the $7.85 an hour, the employer must pay the discrepancy. 

According to the Department of Labor, all tips earned by the employee belong to him or her, and the only way the employer can use this money is to go towards the minimum wage or in a sharing arrangement. Many restaurants, bars and cafes make use of tip pooling, which involves tipped employees sharing their tips with other support staff. Those who may be eligible for tip sharing include bussers, bartenders, baristas and food runners. Workers, such as cleaning crew, dishwashers and cooks, who earn the regular minimum wage may not participate in tip pooling.

Employers are required by law to inform tipped workers about tip credits, tip pooling and how their tips may be used. Employers who do not must pay the full $7.85/hour and allow the employee to keep all tips. In situations in which the employee does not make enough tips to meet the state's minimum wage, the employer can face legal problems if the difference is not paid by the business.


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