What is the Minimum Wage?

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What is the minimum wage? Minimum wage is the lowest hourly amount an employer can pay an employee, with some exceptions based on the type of worker.

There are both state and federal minimum wage rates, with the current federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. Some states have minimum wages that are higher than the federal rate, so workers in those locations are paid the higher amount.

Most hourly employees are guaranteed to be paid at least the federal minimum wage which is $7.25 per hour or the state minimum wage if it is higher.

Here's a list of the current minimum wage rates (2015) for each state.

When Employees Can be Paid Less Than the Minimum Wage

Employees who are paid hourly cannot be paid less than the minimum wage unless they are in one of the categories of workers who are exempt from being paid minimum wage or who receive tips, because tips are calculated in the pay rate for the employees who receive them.

Here's a list of minimum wage exemptions and information on paying workers submininum wage.

Minimum Wage Increases

In order for the minimum wage to go up, either the federal government or state legislature must pass a law which stipulates a change in the minimum wage. The last time the federal minimum wage was increased was in 2009.

Minimum Wage Laws

If your employer is paying you less than the minimum wage visit the Compliance Section of the US Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration Wage and Hour Division for information on how to proceed.

Related Articles: How Much is Minimum Wage? | Current Minimum Wage Rates | Federal and State Minimum Wage Rates

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