http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs15.pdf From what I understand the employer can pay you $2.15 if they prove that you make at least minimum wage with tips. If they cannot prove you make minimum wage with tips, then they must make up the difference. (So if you make $6.00 /hr with tips they must pay you $1.25 extra /hr). They must also notify you of this rule if they are saying that you make at least minimum wage. If they don't, then they will be forced to pay you minimum wage and you can keep extra tips. As all laws this requires some knowledge from both employees and employers. If your employer never tells you, well it's your responsibility to read up on current laws too.