U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 27, 2022

§ 10.28 - Tipped employees.

(a) Payment of wages to tipped employees. With respect to workers who are tipped employees as defined in § 10.2 and this section, the amount of wages paid to such employee by the employee's employer shall be equal to:

(1) An hourly cash wage of at least:

(i) $4.90 an hour beginning on January 1, 2015;

(ii) For each succeeding 1-year period until the hourly cash wage equals 70 percent of the wage in effect under section 2 of the Executive Order, the hourly cash wage applicable in the prior year, increased by the lesser of $0.95 or the amount necessary for the hourly cash wage to equal 70 percent of the wage in effect under section 2 of the Executive Order;

(iii) For each subsequent year, 70 percent of the wage in effect under section 2 of the Executive Order for such year rounded to the nearest multiple of $0.05; and

(2) An additional amount on account of the tips received by such employee (tip credit) which amount is equal to the difference between the hourly cash wage in paragraph (a)(1) of this section and the wage in effect under section 2 of the Executive Order. Where tipped employees do not receive a sufficient amount of tips in the workweek to equal the amount of the tip credit, the employer must increase the cash wage paid for the workweek under paragraph (a)(1) of this section so that the amount of the cash wage paid and the tips received by the employee equal the minimum wage under section 2 of the Executive Order.

(3) An employer may pay a higher cash wage than required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section and take a lower tip credit but may not pay a lower cash wage than required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section and take a greater tip credit. In order for the employer to claim a tip credit, the employer must demonstrate that the worker received at least the amount of the credit claimed in actual tips. If the worker received less than the claimed tip credit amount in tips during the workweek, the employer is required to pay the balance on the regular payday so that the worker receives the wage in effect under section 2 of the Executive Order with the defined combination of wages and tips.

(4) If the wage required to be paid under the Service Contract Act, 41 U.S.C. 6701 et seq., or any other applicable law or regulation is higher than the wage required by section 2 of the Executive Order, the employer shall pay additional cash wages equal to the difference between the wage in effect under section 2 of the Executive Order and the highest wage required to be paid.

(b) Tipped employees. (1) As provided in § 10.2, a covered worker employed in an occupation in which he or she receives tips is a “tipped employee” when he or she customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. Only tips actually retained by the employee after any tip pooling may be counted in determining whether the person is a “tipped employee” and in applying the provisions of section 3 of the Executive Order. An employee may be a “tipped employee” regardless of whether the employee is employed full time or part time so long as the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. An employee who does not receive more than $30 a month in tips customarily and regularly is not a tipped employee for purposes of the Executive Order and must receive the full minimum wage in section 2 of the Executive Order without any credit for tips received under the provisions of section 3.

(2) Dual jobs. In some situations an employee is employed in dual jobs, as, for example, where a maintenance person in a hotel also works as a server. In such a situation the employee, if the employee customarily and regularly receives at least $30 a month in tips for the work as a server, is engaged in a tipped occupation only when employed as a server. The employee is employed in two occupations, and no tip credit can be taken for the employee's hours of employment in the occupation of maintenance person.

(3) Engaged in a tipped occupation. An employee is engaged in a tipped occupation when the employee performs work that is part of the tipped occupation. An employer may only take a tip credit for work performed by a tipped employee that is part of the employee's tipped occupation.

(i) Work that is part of the tipped occupation. Work that is part of the tipped occupation is:

(A) Work that produces tips; and

(B) Work that directly supports the tip-producing work, if the directly supporting work is not performed for a substantial amount of time.

(ii) Tip-producing work. (A) Tip-producing work is any work performed by a tipped employee that provides service to customers for which the tipped employee receives tips.

(B) Examples: The following examples illustrate tip-producing work performed by a tipped employee that provides service to customers for which the tipped employee receives tips. A tipped employee's tip-producing work includes all aspects of the service to customers for which the tipped employee receives tips; this list is illustrative and is not exhaustive. A server's tip-producing work includes providing table service, such as taking orders, making recommendations, and serving food and drink. A bartender's tip-producing work includes making and serving drinks, talking to customers at the bar and, if the bar includes food service, serving food to customers. A nail technician's tip-producing work includes performing manicures and pedicures and assisting the patron to select the type of service. A busser's tip-producing work includes assisting servers with their tip-producing work for customers, such as table service, including filling water glasses, clearing dishes from tables, fetching and delivering items to and from tables, and bussing tables, including changing linens and setting tables. A parking attendant's tip-producing work includes parking and retrieving cars and moving cars in order to retrieve a car at the request of customer. A service bartender's tip-producing work includes preparing drinks for table service. A hotel housekeeper's tip-producing work includes cleaning hotel rooms. A hotel bellhop's tip-producing work includes assisting customers with their luggage. The tip-producing work of a tipped employee who both prepares and serves food to customers, such as a counterperson, includes preparing and serving food.

(iii) Directly supporting work. (A) Directly supporting work is work performed by a tipped employee in preparation of or to otherwise assist tip-producing customer service work.

(B) Examples: The following examples illustrate tasks that are directly supporting work when they are performed in preparation of or to otherwise assist tip-producing customer service work and when they do not provide service to customers. This list is illustrative and is not exhaustive: A server's directly supporting work includes dining room prep work, such as refilling salt and pepper shakers and ketchup bottles, rolling silverware, folding napkins, sweeping or vacuuming under tables in the dining area, and setting and bussing tables. A busser's directly supporting work includes pre- and post-table service prep work such as folding napkins and rolling silverware, stocking the busser station, and vacuuming the dining room, as well as wiping down soda machines, ice dispensers, food warmers, and other equipment in the service alley. A bartender's directly supporting work includes work such as slicing and pitting fruit for drinks, wiping down the bar or tables in the bar area, cleaning bar glasses, arranging bottles in the bar, fetching liquor and supplies, vacuuming under tables in the bar area, cleaning ice coolers and bar mats, making drink mixes, and filling up dispensers with drink mixes. A nail technician's directly supporting work includes cleaning pedicure baths between customers, cleaning and sterilizing private salon rooms between customers, and cleaning tools and the floor of the salon. A parking attendant's directly supporting work includes cleaning the valet stand and parking area, and moving cars around the parking lot or garage to facilitate the parking of patrons' cars. A service bartender's directly supporting work includes slicing and pitting fruit for drinks, cleaning bar glasses, arranging bottles, and fetching liquor or supplies. A hotel housekeeper's directly supporting work includes stocking the housekeeping cart. A hotel bellhop's directly supporting work includes rearranging the luggage storage area and maintaining clean lobbies and entrance areas of the hotel.

(iv) Substantial amount of time. An employer can take a tip credit for the time a tipped employee spends performing work that is not tip-producing, but directly supports tip-producing work, provided that the employee does not perform that work for a substantial amount of time. For the purposes of this section, an employee has performed directly supporting work for a substantial amount of time if:

(A) The directly supporting work exceeds a 20 percent workweek tolerance, which is calculated by determining 20 percent of the hours in the workweek for which the employer has taken a tip credit. The employer cannot take a tip credit for any time spent on directly supporting work that exceeds the 20 percent tolerance. Time for which an employer does not take a tip credit is excluded in calculating the 20 percent tolerance; or

(B) For any continuous period of time, the directly supporting work exceeds 30 minutes. If a tipped employee performs directly supporting work for a continuous period of time that exceeds 30 minutes, the employer cannot take a tip credit for any time that exceeds 30 minutes. Time in excess of the 30 minutes, for which an employer may not take a tip credit, is excluded in calculating the 20 percent tolerance in paragraph (b)(3)(iv)(A) of this section.

(v) Work that is not part of the tipped occupation. (A) Work that is not part of the tipped occupation is any work that does not provide service to customers for which tipped employees receive tips, and does not directly support tip-producing work. If a tipped employee is required to perform work that is not part of the employee's tipped occupation, the employer may not take a tip credit for that time.

(B) Examples: The following examples illustrate work that is not part of the tipped occupation because the work does not provide service to customers for which tipped employees receive tips, and does not directly support tip-producing work. This list is illustrative and is not exhaustive. Preparing food, including salads, and cleaning the kitchen or bathrooms, is not part of the tipped occupation of a server. Cleaning the dining room or bathroom is not part of the tipped occupation of a bartender. Ordering supplies for the salon is not part of the tipped occupation of a nail technician. Servicing vehicles is not part of the tipped occupation of a parking attendant. Cleaning the dining room and bathrooms is not part of the tipped occupation of a service bartender. Cleaning non-residential parts of a hotel, such as the exercise room, restaurant, and meeting rooms, is not part of the tipped occupation of a hotel housekeeper. Cleaning the kitchen or bathrooms is not part of the tipped occupation of a busser. Retrieving room service trays from guest rooms is not part of the tipped occupation of a hotel bellhop.

(c) Characteristics of tips. A tip is a sum presented by a customer as a gift or gratuity in recognition of some service performed for the customer. It is to be distinguished from payment of a fixed charge, if any, made for the service. Whether a tip is to be given, and its amount, are matters determined solely by the customer. Customers may present cash tips directly to the employee or may designate a tip amount to be added to their bill when paying with a credit card or by other electronic means. Special gifts in forms other than money or its equivalent such as theater tickets, passes, or merchandise, are not counted as tips received by the employee for purposes of determining wages paid under the Executive order.

(d) Service charges. (1) A compulsory charge for service, such as 15 percent of the amount of the bill, imposed on a customer by an employer's establishment, is not a tip and, even if distributed by the employer to its workers, cannot be counted as a tip for purposes of determining if the worker is a tipped employee. Similarly, where negotiations between a hotel and a customer for banquet facilities include amounts for distribution to workers of the hotel, the amounts so distributed are not tips.

(2) As stated above, service charges and other similar sums are considered to be part of the employer's gross receipts and are not tips for the purposes of the Executive Order. Where such sums are distributed by the employer to its workers, however, they may be used in their entirety to satisfy the wage payment requirements of the Executive Order.

(e) Tip pooling. Where tipped employees share tips through a tip pool, only the amounts retained by the tipped employees after any redistribution through a tip pool are considered tips in applying the provisions of FLSA section 3(t) and the wage payment provisions of section 3 of the Executive order. There is no maximum contribution percentage on mandatory tip pools. However, an employer must notify its employees of any required tip pool contribution amount, may only take a tip credit for the amount of tips each employee ultimately receives, and may not retain any of the employees' tips for any other purpose.

(f) Notice. An employer is not eligible to take the tip credit unless it has informed its tipped employees in advance of the employer's use of the tip credit. The employer must inform the tipped employee of the amount of the cash wage that is to be paid by the employer, which cannot be lower than the cash wage required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section; the additional amount by which the wages of the tipped employee will be considered increased on account of the tip credit claimed by the employer, which amount may not exceed the value of the tips actually received by the employee; that all tips received by the tipped employee must be retained by the employee except for a tip pooling arrangement; and that the tip credit shall not apply to any worker who has not been informed of the requirements in this section.

[79 FR 60721, Oct. 7, 2014, as amended at 85 FR 86788, Dec. 30, 2020; 86 FR 60156, Oct. 29, 2021; 86 FR 71829, Dec. 20, 2021]