If you work as a server in Virginia or would like to get into the industry, then you should be aware of what the minimum wage is for servers in Virginia to ensure you are being paid the correct amount and determine if this is a job for you. The Virginia server minimum wage rate in 2023 is $2.13 per hour.
The laws surrounding the Virginia minimum wage for servers act as a safety net for those that may not earn enough in tips to meet the minimum wage threshold in the state.
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 the diners of the restaurant, cafe, or hotel.
Virginia servers tend to rely far less on their low hourly tipped minimum wage and more on the generosity of the guests they serve for their paycheck each week.
What is the Server Minimum Wage in Virginia
The minimum cash wage for servers in Virginia is $2.13 per hour, which is the same as the tipped minimum wage in Virginia. This is the minimum per hour a Virginia server must pay and a Virginia employer must pay its servers.
As you can see from the following graphic, the minimum wage for servers in Virginia has not been changing over the past several years; however, the tip credit has. Head further down the page to find out more information regarding the tip credit for servers in Virginia.
Minimum Cash Wage and Tip Credits
$2.13 per hour is not much to be paid an hour, but if a server’s tips are not sufficient enough, Virginia law requires that servers must be supplemented by their employers via “tipped credit.” In the state of Virginia this is $9.87 per hour, making the server minimum wage in Virginia a total of $12.00 per hour.
The regular minimum wage in Virginia for all types of employees does not follow the federal minimum wage guidelines that have been in their current form since 2008. Instead, Virginia has its own unique minimum wage rate that is calculated via the consumer price index and general inflation within the state.
Based on the tipped minimum wage laws that apply to all states, Virginia employers are required to pay their employees an hourly minimum cash wage with the addition of tip credits. What tipped credits allow employers to do is pay tipped employees less than the minimum wage so long as they can make up at least the difference via tips per hour during the course of a working week.
Tip credit not only allows server employees to be paid less than the minimum hourly wage, but it is also the same concept with bartenders, hotel workers, airport attendants, other workers in the hospitality industry, and most other roles where tips are the primary income for the employee.
In Virginia, servers must be paid a base minimum cash wage of $2.13 per hour. The expectation is that Virginia servers will make at least an additional $9.87 per hour in tips on average across a working week, and if they do, then the employer is only obligated to pay a Virginia server $2.13 per hour.
Let’s assume that a server in Virginia does not make at least $2.13 per hour in tips as an average over the course of a working week, then the employer must step in and pay the Virginia server a tip credit of up to $9.87 per hour, so the server makes a minimum of $12.00 per hour for the duration of the working week.
Average Server Salary in Virginia (2023)
If you are a server or are looking to work as a server in a restaurant or similar service-related business in Virginia, knowing what you can expect to earn is perhaps even more important for your well-being and livelihood.
Most Virginia servers do not take a position at a restaurant, hotel, or cafe, assuming they can only earn $12.00 per hour, because based on working 35-40 hours a week, they could only earn about $420-$480 per week before taxes.
What Do Servers Get Paid in Virginia
The average server hourly wage in Virginia, according to the job website Indeed is $15.00 per hour! So, if you were to work an 8-hour shift or a total of 8 hours in a day across a couple of shifts, you could potentially earn (on average) about $120 (8 hrs x $15.00). If you worked five days per week, you could earn about $600 per week as a server in Virginia!
If you worked 49 weeks in a year (taking off three), then you could potentially earn 49 x $600 = 29,400 for the year. This, of course, is before Virginia income tax has been deducted and any federal taxes that you may incur on your income.
The above calculations are just averages to give you an idea of roughly what you could earn as a Virginia server. More important is how good you are at your job, your experience level, what type of food/beverage establishment you work at, how busy the restaurant/cafe/hotel or bar is, and how many other servers you are working with during your shifts.
Also, many people that work at restaurants or similar establishments are willing to work more than 40 hours per week which may make them qualify for overtime pay. You also need to be working at an establishment that has enough business to keep you busy for 40 cumulative hours of shifts each week to potentially earn a good living.
If you are a Virginia employer, it is your responsibility to pay your servers a minimum hourly rate + tip credit that at least equals the Virginia minimum wage in the event that your servers do not earn enough to meet the $12.00 per hour threshold. By failing to do so, you could be breaking federal and state laws.
Equally, it is important that as a server working in Virginia, you know your rights and how much you should be paid each week based on your hourly wage and tip credits.
If you have specific questions about the laws surrounding the minimum wage for servers in Virginia (tipped employees) from both an employer and employee perspective, you can contact the Department of Labor and Industry. 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:
Virginia Department of Labor
Main Street Centre
600 East Main Street, Suite 207
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Telephone: (804) 371-2327