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Under US labor law, it is generally impermissible for an employer to pay an hourly wage lower than the federal minimum wage. As of 2022, the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour. However, some exceptions do apply in certain circumstances, and the minimum wage can vary from state to state. Let's break down this complex issue.
🏛️ Navigating the Labyrinth: Federal vs. State Minimum Wage
The federal minimum wage sets the baseline for hourly wages across the United States. However, individual states have the authority to set their own minimum wage rates. If a state's minimum wage is higher than the federal rate, employers in that state must pay the higher rate. You can find a detailed comparison of minimum wage rates by state in our article Georgia Labor Laws: A Comprehensive Overview for Workers.
US Minimum Wage Laws Quiz
Test your knowledge about US minimum wage laws.
🔍 Unearthing the Exceptions: When Can Wages Dip Below Minimum?
While the general rule is that employers must pay at least the federal or state minimum wage, certain exceptions do exist. These include:
- Tipped employees: Employees who regularly receive tips may be paid less than the minimum wage, as long as their tips plus the hourly wage meet or exceed the minimum wage.
- Youth minimum wage: Employers can pay employees under 20 years of age a lower wage for the first 90 calendar days of employment.
- Full-time students, student learners, apprentices, and workers with disabilities: Special certificates may be issued by the Department of Labor to permit lower wage rates.
For more information on these exceptions, visit our FAQ post What are the U.S. labor laws regarding working on Sundays?.
💼 Workers' Comp Meets Minimum Wage: What's the Connection?
It's worth noting that workers' compensation benefits are not typically affected by minimum wage laws. Workers' comp benefits are calculated based on a percentage of the worker's average weekly wage, not their hourly wage rate. Read more about this in our article What is a Non-Exempt Employee? Understanding the Basics in Florida Labor Laws.
💰 Underpaid? Here's What to Do If You're Earning Less Than Minimum Wage
If you believe you're being paid less than the minimum wage, you have rights. You can file a wage claim with your state labor department or the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division. You may also wish to consult with an attorney to explore your options. Visit our FAQ post What actions can I take if I believe my employer has breached labor laws? for more details.
🎯 Wrapping Up: Your Essential Guide to US Labor Law and Minimum Wage
In conclusion, while the general rule under US labor law is that an employer must pay at least the minimum wage, exceptions do exist. If you have questions about your wage rights, it's always a good idea to consult with a legal professional or your state labor department.
Do you think the minimum wage should be increased in the US?
Given the current state of the economy and the cost of living, do you believe it's time for a raise in the minimum wage? Share your thoughts!