Minimum Wage Rate Lawyers

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What Is Minimum Wage?

Minimum wage is the absolute lowest rate of income, usually by the hour, that an employer can legally pay a worker for their job. The federal government has established, by law, a federal minimum wage rate. Each state has its own minimum wage rate laws as well. The federal and state minimum state laws are meant to protect workers from unfairly low compensation.

The state minimum wage cannot fall below the federal minimum wage threshold. However, state minimum wages may exceed it. Not all employees are protected by the state or federal minimum wage laws. If you are an independent contractor, than you are not considered an actual employee of the employer to be protected under these laws.

What Is the Minimum Wage Rate?

The federal minimum wage rate was established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and on July 24, 2009, it was raised to the current level of $7.25 per hour. This amount has not changed in the year 2017 and remains current.

Which Minimum Wage Rate Applies to me: Federal, State, or Local?

The minimum wage rates of federal, state, or local law can always be different and employees usually wonder which one applies to them. Federal wage law applies to all employers across the nation. If you work in a state or city that has its own wage laws, your employer should pay whichever law is most generous to their employees. For example, if the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, your state minimum wage is $8 per hour, and your city's minimum wage is $9.25 per hour, the employer must pay the employee at least $9.25 per hour since it is the most generous of all 3.

State Minimum Wage Rages

Each state is free to make laws that set its own minimum wage rate, as long as it is not below the federal minimum wage for FLSA covered work. Some states have chosen to have a much higher rate, while others have chosen to peg their state minimum wage rate to the federal minimum wage rate. A few examples are:

Other states that have changed their minimimum wage rates in 2017 are:

Are There Any Exceptions to Minimum Wage Rates?

The federal minimum wage rate law, and many state minimum wage rate laws, have multiple exceptions. A few examples are:

What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Minimum Wage?

If an employer fails to pay minimum wage to an employee when they are obligated by law to do so, they can face punishment, including:

The Department of Labor enforces compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and its Wage and Hour Division will launch investigation into non-complying employer’s practices.

When Can I Pay My Employee Below the Minimum Wage Rate?

The FLSA provides certain and limited circumstance when an employer can pay an employee below the minimum wage rate. These circumstances include when full-time students are employed at higher-education institutions, agriculture, and retail businesses. Also when workers get tips through their work, under federal law, if the compensation pay is part of the employee's tips, then the employer can pay the employee below the minimum wage rate as long as the tips and the hourly pay averages out to be equal or more than the minimum wage rate of the state.

Also if an employee is a youth worker, than the minimum wage laws are different. An employer can pay a youth worker less than the minimum wage for the first 90 days of employment at a rate of $4.25 per hour. After the 90 days, the youth worker would be entitled to the minimum wage regardless of age.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Minimum Wage Rate Issue?

If you believe you have been working for an employer and not being paid minimum wage, or you are facing liability for not paying an employee minimum wage, it is highly recommended for you to contact an employment attorney. Only they will be able to properly explain the issues and help defend your rights.

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Last Modified: 01-20-2017 10:40 PM PST

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