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PA wage question (tipped) Pennsylvania

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  • PA wage question (tipped) Pennsylvania

    I'm going to be working for a camp called (deleted), which is a vacation center geared towards seniors, etc... in PA for Passover in a few days. It happens to be a not-for-profit, charitable organization. There is a contract, and it's a little shady to me...

    They are paying a fixed salary of $725 plus pooled tips (expected to bring it up over $1000) for 11 days of work. They qualify that a day of work constitutes a minimum of 8-10 hours. There is an additional day for setting up which can be as much as another 7 hours, so basically 12 days. Not horrible with tips, but still shrewd I think--anyhoo:

    I'm questioning if this is legal. I know PA law states that they have to keep a record of hours and pay the minimum wage (I'm nearly certain they don't do this, but alone it might not be of much benefit to anyone) by the hour regardless of method of payment (hourly, salary, or anything else). Now, if I fill in 9 or 10 for the hours worked on those days, and divide the $725 by that, it comes out to 6-something per hour, which is under the minimum wage. Also, there is no mention in the contract of overtime. This is a quick gauntlet, there are NO days off, therefore, based on a workweek, there will be plenty of overtime. The law also requires that (regardless of payment method), time and a half be paid for anything over 40 hours in a 7-day period. Now for my question...

    There are a couple of law provisions that throw a wrench into this. One exempts some from both minimum wage and overtime, and one of those exemptions is "a public organized camp"--but only if it doesn't operate more than 7 months per year, or makes in 6 months, only a third of the other 6 months. One question I have...what constitutes a public organized camp?

    Also, I'm having a heck of a time understanding this mess:

    In determining the hourly wage an employer is required to pay a tipped employe, the amount paid
    such employe by his or her employer shall be an amount equal to: (i) the cash wage paid the employe which
    for the purposes of the determination shall be not less than the cash wage required to be paid the employe on
    the date immediately prior to the effective date of this subparagraph; and (ii) an additional amount on
    account of the tips received by the employe which is equal to the difference between the wage specified in
    subparagraph (i) and the wage in effect under section 4 of this act. The additional amount on account of tips
    may not exceed the value of tips actually received by the employe. The previous sentence shall not apply
    with respect to any tipped employe unless:
    (1) Such employe has been informed by the employer of the provisions of this subsection;
    (2) All tips received by such employe have been retained by the employe and shall not be
    surrendered to the employer to be used as wages to satisfy the requirement to pay the current hourly
    minimum rate in effect; where the gratuity is added to the charge made by the establishment, either by
    the management, or by the customer, the gratuity shall become the property of the employe; except that
    this subsection shall not be construed to prohibit the pooling of tips among employes who customarily
    and regularly receive tips.

    What does this mean? haha... I get most of the law, but that one just messes me up. Basically, what I want to know is, considering we're tipped (pool), does this alter the minimum wage (seems so, which is hooey--customers pay the company's labor), and if so, what is that amount in PA? Also, does the legality of this contract hinge simply on whether or not the hours worked * that amount (min. wage for tipped) comes to more or less than $725? And can they use the pooled tips as a legal back door to the law that states they must pay the min. wage even if payed via salary, etc...? Or, on the other hand, are they required to match the amount of however much the aforementioned is, only with whatever hours would be overtime hours considering the possibility of 10 hour days (with none off)?...and again, with or without tips? Sorry this is quite confusing, I realize...

    Another detail is we're divided into kitchen and wait staff. The contract states that after the tips are pooled, 15% of it will be divided among the kitchen staff, and the wait staff is asked to adhere to it... However, how the rest is delegated is not mentioned. Can they even do that?

    One final thing is that they will, in a sense, provide lodging and board, which can be included in the wages, but from what I read, that can only be done if they tell you at the time of hiring, and they did not (I worked there once before last year), and also, unless they annotate the costs of everything, they would need the Secretary of Labor to evaluate a fair cost for those I off on this? If someone could help me be clear, I'd be most grateful. It's just a lot of work all at once, and I know everyone deserves more money than that, and I just don't want them to get away with sneaking around a labor law if that's the case.
    Last edited by cbg; 04-16-2008, 04:18 AM.

  • #2
    I have to say I only skimmed your post as it was way too long, but if you are a nonexempt employee, your "salary" has to average to at least PA minimum wage for any given workweek (inclusive of tips), plus you must receive overtime at 1.5 times your "regular rate of pay", which is the weekly salary divided by the number of hours you worked in the workweek. The business is not exempt because it is (it appears) non-profit.

    What would you be doing there?

    Only you can decide whether to accept this condition or not.

    BTW, I suggest you remove the name of the business from your post. If the employer trolls these sites and sees it, they may remove the offer altogether.
    Last edited by Pattymd; 04-16-2008, 02:49 AM.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      Well I'd be waiting on people...lots of them, as the Passover thing is big there. I apologize for the length of the post, I just felt the issue was complex, and I wanted to put what I already understood so someone wouldn't have to give unnecessary info.

      Anyhoo, I seriously doubt this place would find the post, but even if they did, I would not be put out in the cold for it really. My interest is to keep them from getting away with stuff mostly. It's not just me. If they're breaking a minimum wage law, then I'd like to see to it they answer for that..and then they'll have to change this offer if they want anyone to work for them.

      One of the important questions I had though, in the midst of my huge post, was does the PA minimum wage drop at all because of the tips (pooled)? The part in the middle of my last post was the law I read that seemed to indicate that possibility, but I was having trouble sorting it out. Thanks for replying, by the way.
      Last edited by Wagewar; 04-16-2008, 03:12 AM.


      • #4
        I believe, Patty, that what the poster is asking, boiled down to payroll terms, is whether or not PA allows tip credit.

        Poster, I have deleted the name of the employer from your post. You may not care, or think it matters, but we have a rule here not to name specific employers. Just a few weeks ago, we had a poster whose employer was able to identify himself WITHOUT BEING NAMED and the poster was (legally) fired for his post. We don't want the same thing to happen to anyone else.
        Last edited by cbg; 04-16-2008, 04:20 AM.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


        • #5
          PA DOES allow tip credit, but the tips plus the effective hourly rate STILL must meet the full minimum wage.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


          • #6
            Ok that helps. I believe it will be enough with tips to satisfy the conditions. Thanks for sticking out my long post.

            cbg, actually that was part of why I didn't bother omitting the info. I figure if someone from there did grace these forums, then the description of the job and terms alone would be enough, so it'd be a moot point. However, I appreciate the concern, and I apologize for not being more observant of the rules.

            Anyway, the main question I had has been answered--thanks again. I have another passive curiosity which does not need as immediate attention, so just if one of you has the time:

            Section 5. Exemptions.
            (a) Employment in the following classifications shall be exempt from both the minimum wage and
            overtime provisions of this act:
            (9) In employment by an establishment which is a public amusement or recreational establish-
            ment, organized camp, or religious or nonprofit educational conference center, if
            (i) it does not operate for more than seven months in any calendar year, or
            (ii) during the preceding calendar year, its average receipts of any six months of such
            year were not more than thirty-three and one-third percent of its average receipts for the other six
            months of such year;

            What would constitute a "public organized camp" in this case? Would they be able to get off on that alone?


            • #7
              Not knowing that much about the establishment, I honestly couldn't say. You could call the federal DOL and ask. They take a message and call you back; may take a couple of days.
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


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