Q: Am I supposed to be paid tipped minimum wage when I pool my tips with management and BOH?
At my job, FOH employees are paid tipped minimum wage- $9.30. FOH employees receive tips, which are pooled and also shared with management and BOH employees, of which both groups receive at least minimum wage or higher. I read a passage on the Colorado department of labor website stating that "Under the COMPS Order, if the employer requires tipped employees to share their tips with other employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips (such as management or food preparers), the tip credit towards minimum wage is nullified" (source: https://cdle.colorado.gov/wage-and-hour-law/tipped-employees). My question is what is meant by tip credit? Does this situation even apply to my work situation?
Tip credit and tip pooling are two different things. A tip credit is when an employer pays you less than the minimum wage ($4.25 per hour for instance) and gets a credit from the tips you receive to count toward its obligation to pay minimum wage ($9.00 per hour for example).
The DOL notice in Colorado sounds similar to the federal one - it is not permissible for an employer to pool tips and use those tips to pay employees who normally do not receive one, such as BOH employees such as cooks or managers. I would recommend reaching out to an employment law attorney in your state for a consultation.
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