In Connecticut, there are different wage laws for employees in the service industry. This is common in every state. Employers can pay employees who receive tips less than minimum wage. However, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor, there are restrictions employers must follow for paying workers less than minimum wage to avoid breaking the law.
The state specifically defines what constitutes service duties and what does not. If an employee is doing only service duties and receiving tips, then the employer can take a credit that allows it to pay that employee less than minimum wage.
Service duties include activities such as setting tables, serving customers, cleaning table areas, filling condiments and replacing silverware. Duties that do not qualify as service duties include serving as a hostess, setting up the dining area before opening, cleaning up any area that is not the immediate serving area, washing dishes and handling takeout orders.
This means that only employees who work for tips, such as waitresses, waiters and bartenders, are eligible for payment as tipped employees. It also means that employers must pay attention to specific job duties these employees do, as some work time may not fall under eligibility for tipped wages.
The employer must separate the times a worker is doing service duties and non-service duties and pay accordingly. The law allows an employer to take a credit of 31% of the minimum wage when paying tipped workers for performing service duties. An employer cannot pay only tipped wages if it does not keep segregated time records for employees.
In addition, the employer must get a tip credit statement from every tipped employee stating that he or she earned tips during the pay period, or else the employer cannot pay at the reduced tip rate. It is the employer’s responsibility to get such statements for every pay period.