If you work as a server in Montana or would like to get into the industry, then you should be aware of what the minimum wage is for servers in Montana to ensure you are being paid the correct amount, or whether it is a job you would like to do.
The Montana server minimum wage rate in 2023 is $9.95 for those working for businesses that follow the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and with gross annual sales of over $110,000. For those working for businesses that are not covered by the FLSA and that do not exceed any more than $110,000 in annual sales, the server minimum wage is $4.00 per hour – quite a difference!
Servers are the lifeblood of the hospitality industry, and they serve their customers with food and beverages in a restaurant or similar type of business where food and drinks are delivered to the table. As part of providing this service, a server will typically receive tips (gratuities) from customers for doing so.
As a safety net for Montana workers, there is a non-tipped hourly rate that is different from the official Montana minimum wage of $9.95 per hour, which is great for servers and means (to an extent) that they do not need to rely on a tip credit or a tipped wage to make up the minimum wage rate in Montana.
This is certainly advantageous as Montana employees will then earn tips on top of the minimum wage in Montana. For employees working for small businesses that only generate $110,000 or less in annual revenue, you can be paid a minimum wage that is significantly less, $4.00 per hour.
What is the Montana Server Minimum Wage in 2023?
What is the actual minimum wage for a server in Montana? $4.00 per hour is the wage if you are employed by a small business in Montana, which is considered to be one that is not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and that has gross annual sales of $110,000 or less.
$9.20 (over double) per hour is the minimum wage for servers in Montana that are employed by a business that generates over $110,000 in revenue per year, and there are invariably going to be a lot of restaurants, cafes, and similar businesses that generate more than $110,000 per year just to be a viable business.
Cash Wage and Tip Credit
Tip credit is usually put in place to supplement those tipped workers, and in this case, servers, who are being paid hourly tipped cash wage lower than the official state minimum wage so that after your hourly tipped wage along with tip credits, you would be paid either the same as the minimum wage for that state.
In Montana’s case, there is no tip credit, nor is there a tip cash wage, meaning that tipped employees, including servers, are paid the exact same as the regular minimum wage in Montana that applies to all types of employees that work in the state unless you work for a very small business in Montana.
Average Server Salary in Montana (2023)
If you are a server or are looking to work as a server in a restaurant or similar service-related business in Montana, knowing the hourly wage for servers is crucial, but knowing what you can expect to earn is even more important.
Most Montana servers will not be satisfied with just earning $9.95 per hour, or even $4.00 per hour, because based on working 40 hours a week, they would only earn $398 or $160 per week, and when you compare this to the cost of living in Montana, you may struggle to make ends meet.
How much do servers make in Montana?
The average server hourly wage in Montana (according to the job website Indeed.com) is $12.00 per hour. So, if you were to work an 8-hour shift or a total of 8 hours in a day across two shifts, you could earn (on average) about $96 (8 hrs x $12.00) per day. If you worked five days per week then you could earn about $480 per week!
If you took just two weeks off a year and worked for 50 weeks you could earn $24,000. If you decided to take 3 weeks off per year, then you could earn 49 x $480 = $23,520 for the year. This is, of course, before the Montana income tax has been deducted.
The above calculations are just averages to give you an idea of what you can earn as a Montana server. The most important aspects of how much you can earn will depend on how good you are at your job and what type of food/beverage establishment you work at, and how busy it is. Also, many people that work at restaurants or similar establishments are willing to work more than 40 hours per week, so they might qualify for overtime pay.
If the average food item on the menu is $8-$15 and the restaurant mainly serves wings, burgers, wraps, nachos, fries, and similar snack-style food, then the average check for the table you serve will be much less, and therefore, the percentage tip against the total check will result in you earning less per table you serve, and you’ll have to serve many tables during your shift.
On the other hand, if you work at a finer dining restaurant or one that is really busy and serves much higher-priced menu items, then you stand to earn more money as the total check for each table you serve will be that much higher and the percentage tip you receive on a higher check will be a lot more.
As a Montana employer, it is your responsibility to pay your servers the minimum hourly rate or surpass the Montana minimum wage in the event that your servers do not earn enough to meet the $9.95 or $4.00 per hour threshold depending on the size of your business.
Failing to do so will be breaking federal and state laws. Equally, it is important that as a server working in Montana, you know your rights and how much you should be paid with your hourly wage.
If you have specific questions about the laws surrounding the minimum wage for servers (tipped employees) from both an employer and employee perspective, you can contact the Montana Department of Labor and Industry wage and hour division. Additionally, if you are an employee who isn’t being paid what you legally should be, you can file a complaint with them too. Here are their contact details:
Montana Wage & Hour Division
Telephone: (406) 444-6543
P.O. Box 8011
Helena, MT 59604
301 South Park Avenue, Floor 5
Helena, MT 59601