Employment laws related to the minimum wage in the U.S. are not clear or straightforward to follow, especially when you are looking at the tipped minimum wage, and tipped employees in Mississippi.

Workers at restaurants, bars, hotels, cruise ships, casinos, and other service providers often expect to be paid a relatively small hourly wage supplemented heavily by tips (gratuities). Many service-industry workers in Mississippi base their entire pay on tips and rely on them to cover their living expenses and lifestyle.

What is a Tipped Mississippi Employee?

A tipped worker in Mississippi is somebody who earns their wages through tips rather than a fixed salary or higher hourly rate that meets or exceeds the minimum wage in the state. Federal law establishes the rules of what is considered a tipped employee vs. a non-tipped employee.

In Mississippi, if an employee receives more than $30 or more per month in tips, they are considered to be a tipped employee by federal standards. These employees often include workers such as bartenders, servers in Mississippi, some hotel workers (like bellhops and porters), valet car parking attendants, and more. The laws surrounding the definition of a Mississippi tipped employee follow the federal guidelines.

Tipped Employees & the Mississippi Tipped Minimum Wage

To comply with Mississippi minimum wage laws, employers must ensure that when including tips, their employees that are 18 years of age or older are being paid at the very least the state minimum wage rate set for Mississippi tipped workers, which is the same as the federal minimum wage and, also known as the Mississippi tipped minimum wage for employees. If those employees are not making that minimum pay rate, it is then the employer’s responsibility to make up the difference which is 71% of the regular minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

There are many factors that contribute to the employment law in the Magnolia State that will impact how employers handle tipped employees. Understanding the standard minimum wage in Mississippi, the federal laws controlling wages, and how pay and wages work for tipped employees is pivotal if you are considering starting a service-related business with tipped employees.

Mississippi tipped minimum wage

The tipped minimum wage in Mississippi for 2022 is $2.13 per hour. The current minimum wage in Mississippi in 2022 for those over the age of 18 years old is $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees. If an employee works more than 40-hours per week then they may be entitled to be paid overtime. This is called “time and a half pay” and is equal to one and a half times (1.5) an employee’s normal hourly wage.

Mississippi law requires the Mississippi Department of Employment Security to calculate a minimum wage increase each year. The annual calculation is based on the percentage increase in the state’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) previous 12-month period from when the calculation occurs.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Tipped Employees

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as the FLSA, is a federal law from the U.S. Department of Labor. This law establishes a national minimum wage, defines classifications for employees, and covers other essential standards and requirements for Mississippi employers.

Federal law requires that employers make tipped employees aware of the cash wage paid. They must also let them know about the tip credit, and explain any tip pooling systems at the workplace. Currently, the national direct hourly salary is only $2.13 per hour.

Tip Credits and the Minimum Cash Wage in Mississippi

Since the rules for tipped employees are different than non-tipped employees, there are other ways that employers can calculate the minimum amount earned by a tipped employee. One of these ways is through tip credits.

The Mississippi tip credit is the same as the federal tip credit, which is currently $5.12 per hour (71% of the applicable minimum wage) – this means that employers can claim a $5.12 hourly credit against the tipped employee’s minimum wage. This credit effectively turns the $7.25 minimum wage into a $2.13 per hour minimum wage (29%) that employers must pay to tipped employees no matter how much they earn.

Let’s assume a tipped employee (bartender, server, etc.) in Mississippi earns, on average, less than $5.12 per hour during the working week as the tipped portion of their earnings (an accumulation of their tips). In that case, the employer must pay the difference between the minimum cash wage ($2.13 per hour) what they made in tips per hour in a working week, and the total of $7.25 per hour. This is tipped credit against the minimum wage and it can be up to 71% or $5.12.

A minimum cash wage ensures that Mississippi tipped employees earn a wage, even if a slow workweek or other downturn occurs and they do not receive sufficient tips in a certain week or time period. This minimum wage rate ensures that servers and others in tipped roles in Mississippi that do not make enough with tips can still earn a weekly wage when working full-time of $290 ($7.25 x 40 hours).

Alternatively, some tipped employees in Mississippi will work more than 40 hours per week, especially if they are covering shifts for other employees, and may qualify for overtime pay. The tipped minimum wage history in Mississippi is in the table below.

StateTipped WageTip CreditYear
Mississippi tipped minimum wage 2022$2.13$5.122022
Mississippi tipped minimum wage 2021$2.13$5.122021
Mississippi tipped minimum wage 2020$2.13$5.122020
Mississippi tipped minimum wage 2019$2.13$5.122019

How Does This Affect My Business?

If you are planning to start (or purchase) a new business in Mississippi due to the growing small business and working opportunities presented by the Magnolia State, or simply considering Mississippi as a place to live and work due to the brilliant quality of life on offer, you should certainly take this information about tipped employees and the state minimum wage into account.

While you may want to speak with an employment attorney or accounting firm for legal and tax advice about your business, understanding the minimum wage laws for tipped employees can help you make an informed decision whether or not the state is right for you and your future plans.

If you have a claim related to employment, you can find out more information on the Mississippi Department of Employment Security website. You can also file a complaint if you feel you are not being paid the correct minimum wage or overtime rate.