The Federal Minimum Wage: How Much Employers Must Pay Workers in the U.S.
Everybody needs money to pay for the things they need in life. In order to offer fair compensation for work, employers must meet the minimum wage requirements set by federal law. As of 2019, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Some states have set their own minimum wage rates to be higher than this amount.
In general, businesses that employ workers must pay them a fair wage for the hours worked and tasks completed. This means that almost all employees must be paid at least minimum wage as required by state and federal laws. The only exception is when an employee receives housing as part of their compensation package; in that case, the lodging may not exceed an affordable fair market value cost per month (e.g., $300).
Even interns who serve as unpaid volunteers are generally entitled to minimum wage if they meet certain criteria regarding length of service and duties performed on a regular basis under the supervision of company staff members or managers responsible for directing their work and performance. Read on to learn more about the federal minimum wage, state-specific minimum wages, and other important details concerning employee wages in America today.
- What Is the Federal Minimum Wage?
- How Much Must Employees Be Paid Under the FLSA?
- Which Employers Are Required to Pay the Federal Minimum Wage?
- Which Employees Are Excluded from FLSA Requirements?
What Is the Federal Minimum Wage?
The federal minimum wage is the lowest hourly pay rate an employer may pay to workers in all states except for the following nine that have set minimum wage rates higher than the federal level. In addition to meeting the federal minimum.
If you are an employee in any of the following states, you must be paid the higher state minimum wage rate. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour will not apply to you. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington
How Much Must Employees Be Paid Under the FLSA?
The federal minimum wage translates to $7.25 per hour worked. However, note that if you work more than 40 hours in a given work week, you are entitled to a higher rate for your overtime hours than just $7.25 per hour. The federal government uses a formula to determine overtime pay rates, which varies from state to state.
This federal minimum wage rate applies to each hour you work, whether you are a full-time or part-time employee, and whether you are paid hourly or salary. Salary-earners are generally those who receive a set amount each pay period regardless of the hours worked or the tasks completed.
Employees who work for tips are entitled to receive a reduced minimum wage amount. This reduced pay rate applies only if your total earnings (with tips included) exceed the minimum wage amount.
Which Employers Are Required to Pay the Federal Minimum Wage?
The federal minimum wage must be paid to all employees in all industries.
Certain categories of employees are exempted from the minimum wage law. These exemptions are listed below:
Which Employees Are Excluded from FLSA Requirements?
While most employers must pay their workers at least the federal minimum wage, some categories of employees are legally excluded from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirement for minimum wage pay. These employees are entitled to be paid at a lower rate. They are:
When and How Can Employers Pay Employees Less Than the Minimum Wage?
Employers who pay their workers less than the minimum wage are violating the law. However, there are some situations in which employers may pay less than the minimum wage to certain categories of employees. Some examples are:
Employees who perform certain types of work, such as farm work or work in a research laboratory, may be paid less than the federal minimum wage.
Employers who pay their workers less than the minimum wage are required to keep track of the number of hours each employee performs at the lower rate. The employer should pay the difference between the lower rate and the federal minimum wage once the employee has completed 40 hours of work.
States with Different Minimum Wage Rates
The following table shows the minimum wage rates in each state that is different from the federal minimum wage.
Note: The table contains rates that are current as of January 1, 2019.
Find Out More About Employee Rights and Wages in America
The minimum wage is only one aspect of employee rights. Many employers have not fully implemented all employment laws intended to protect workers. It is important to be aware of your rights as an employee in order to receive the full compensation you deserve.
Many states have enacted legislation that extends and augments federal employee rights laws, such as the minimum wage, the right to paid leave, and the right to be free from discrimination. In addition to federal laws, you may be protected by local or state minimum wage laws that are more generous than federal law.
Employees may file complaints with the state, federal, or local governments if they believe their employer has violated employment laws. Many state and federal government agencies are able to help employees through the complaint process.
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