29 CFR § 531.56 - “More than $30 a month in tips.”

§ 531.56 “More than $30 a month in tips.”

(a) In general. An employee who receives tips, within the meaning of the Act, is a “tipped employee” under the definition in section 3(t) when, in the occupation in which he is engaged, the amounts he receives as tips customarily and regularly total “more than $30 a month.” An employee employed in an occupation in which the tips he or she receives meet the minimum standard in the preceding sentence is a “tipped employee” for whom the wage credit provided by section 3(m)(2)(A) may be taken in computing the compensation due him or her under the Act for employment in such occupation, whether he or she is employed in it full time or part time. An employee employed full time or part time in an occupation in which he or she does not receive more than $30 a month in tips customarily and regularly is not a “tipped employee” within the meaning of the Act and must receive the full compensation required by the provisions of the Act in cash or allowable facilities without any deduction for tips received under the provisions of section 3(m)(2)(A).

(b) Month. The definition of tipped employee does not require that the calendar month be used in determining whether more than $30 a month is customarily and regularly received as tips. Any appropriate recurring monthly period beginning on the same day of the calendar month may be used.

(c) Individual tip receipts are controlling. An employee must him- or herself customarily and regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips in order to qualify as a tipped employee. The fact that he or she is part of a group which has a record of receiving more than $30 a month in tips will not qualify him or her. For example, a server who is newly hired will not be considered a tipped employee merely because the other servers in the establishment receive tips in the requisite amount. For the method of applying the test in initial and terminal months of employment, see § 531.58.

(d) Significance of minimum monthly tip receipts. More than $30 a month in tips customarily and regularly received by the employee is a minimum standard that must be met before any wage credit for tips is determined under section 3(m)(2)(A). It does not govern or limit the determination of the appropriate amount of wage credit under section 3(m)(2)(A) that may be taken for tips under section 6(a)(1) (tip credit equals the difference between the minimum wage required by section 6(a)(1) and the cash wage paid (at least $2.13 per hour)).

(e) 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 if the employee customarily and regularly receives at least $30 a month in tips for the employee's work as a server, the employee 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.

(f) 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.

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

(i) Work that produces tips; and

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

(2) Tip-producing work.

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

(ii) 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.

(3) Directly supporting work.

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

(ii) 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.

(4) 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 work for a substantial amount of time if:

(i) 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

(ii) 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 (f)(4)(i) of this section.

(5) Work that is not part of the tipped occupation.

(i) 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.

(ii) 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.

[32 FR 13575, Sept. 28, 1967, as amended at 76 FR 18855, Apr. 5, 2011; 85 FR 86790, Dec. 30, 2020; 86 FR 60156, 60157, Oct. 29, 2021; 86 FR 71829, Dec. 20, 2021]

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