Your Rights as an Employee Who Receives Tips in Virginia

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To learn more about your rights as an employee that obtains tips, read on and reach out to our firm today if you have any questions or concerns. Our skilled Midlothian employment attorney is on your side.

What are Virginia’s basic laws on tips?

Essentially, the standard rule of tips under federal law and state law is that they belong to the employee, not the employer. Employers may not mandate employees to hand over their tips unless one of these exceptions applies:

  • State law permits the employer to take a tip credit. Some states authorize the employer to count all or part of an employee’s tips towards its minimum wage responsibilities. Even though the employer is not technically “taking” the employee’s tips, the employer gets to count some tips as if the employer had paid them directly to the employee. Virginia permits employers to take a tip credit.
  • The employee is part of a valid tip pool. According to federal law and in applicable states, employees can be instructed to pay part of their tips into a tip pool to be shared with other employees.

What are tip credits?

Minimum wage laws are used to protect all employees, whether or not they receive tips. Employees are entitled to obtain the full minimum wage per hour as established by federal or state law. 

State laws vary as to whether the employer must pay the full minimum wage itself or may count an employee’s tips toward its minimum wage commitment. Under federal law and in most states, employers may pay tipped employees less than the minimum wage, so long as employees accumulate enough tips to make up the difference. This is referred to as a “tip credit.” The credit is the amount the employer doesn’t have to pay, so the applicable minimum wage (federal or state) less the tip credit is the least the employer can pay tipped employees per hour. 


At Passero Employment Law, we understand it is difficult to confront problems in the workplace or face litigation. With that in mind, we take a solutions-oriented approach to our representation – focusing on the right process and the right solution for each of our clients. If you need help with an employment law matter in the state of Virginia, you can count on Passero Employment Law to effectively represent your interests. If you would like to discuss your matter, please contact Passero Employment Law today.

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