Food servers often experience down times during their shifts when they find themselves waiting for customers, which raises the question: Is it legal for businesses to pay servers below the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour while they are waiting for customers, and, subsequently, not earning any tips? Tipped employees in Idaho earn $3.35 per hour.
While it may appear to be an easy question, it is actually more complicated. Oftentimes, follow-up questions are necessary to determine if work is still being performed and if it’s considered compensable time.
During work time when a tipped employee is not receiving tips, he or she will still be paid the tipped minimum wage but it is based on the average for the pay period. Hours worked and tips received must equal no less than Idaho’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
For example, if a pay period is one week and an employee works 40 hours, 10 of which were not serving but engaged in other work, the average of the employee’s hourly wage plus tips for the 40 hours must be $7.25 per hour minimum — $290 for the week..
Learn more about wage requirements for tipped employees here.
Whether an employee needs to be paid also depends on whether he or she is on or off duty.