There has been a lot of talk about upping the federal minimum wage to $15 these past few years. However, just because one of the minimum wages is increased, does not mean all of them will be increased. The federal government sets a minimum level minimum wage, which as of this article is $7.25 an hour. States are free to increase the minimum wage above that, but it cannot go below.

However, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, there is an alternative minimum wage for tipped employees. A tipped employee is any worker that receives more than $30 a month in tips ? in Missouri it is unspecified. So this means that everyone from waitresses to bartenders to baristas are all potentially tipped employees. If you are a tipped employee, then your minimum wage is $3.825 an hour. Some states require that tipped employees be paid the standard minimum wage and others require that they be paid the tipped minimum wage.

Missouri requires that tipped employees be paid the tipped minimum wage unless their employee opts for a credit system. This means that servers in Missouri can potentially work an eight-hour shift, and make $30.06, assuming there are no tips. Missouri provides two methods to pay tipped employees. Employers can pay their tipped employees the state minimum wage of $7.65 or 50 percent of the minimum wage which is $3.825. Or, employers can combine tips and distribute to the entire staff their share of the tips as credit against the minimum wage up to 50 percent of the minimum wage per hour. Either method can become very complicated.

Tipped employees are governed by different rules, but this does not mean that you must accept unfair treatment. If you believe your boss is skimming your tips or paycheck then consulting with an employment attorney can clarify your rights. If this is happening to you, then it may be happening to your co-workers. You may wish to speak to an attorney to determine if you have an actionable wage and hour claim. You work hard for your tips; you should keep what you earned.