Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Minimum Wage

Minimum wage is the lowest wage per hour that a worker may be paid, as mandated by federal law. The current minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 per hour, with talks of raising that number to at least $15 per hour to meet the astronomically rising costs of basic needs in America. Minimum wage is not to be confused with a living wage, which is based on the minimum income required for a worker to be able to afford the cost of living and basic needs in their particular town or city of residence.

Q: Which federal law(s) cover payment of a minimum wage?

A: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains the federal minimum wage provisions. Under the FLSA, covered employees must be paid at least the minimum wage. Many states, and some cities, also have minimum wage laws.

Q: Can my employer pay me less for certain hours or average my pay?

A: While your employer may pay you different rates for different kinds of work, the pay rates cannot be averaged to meet your employer's minimum wage obligations. Hourly employees must be paid minimum wage for all hours worked. For example, your employer could not pay you $6.50 for certain hours worked, even if for the rest of the hours worked, you were paid $8.00 per hour, making your average rate of pay higher than $7.25 per hour.

Q: If my state or city's minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, what is my employer required to pay me?

A: Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to higher of the minimum wages. If you are not covered by the federal minimum wage laws, that does not mean that you are also exempt from your state minimum wage requirements.

Thought of the Week

"When we talk about the kind of folks whose lives will be made better by raising the minimum wage, we're not talking about a couple teenagers earning extra spending money to supplement their allowance. We're talking about providers and breadwinners. Working Americans with bills to pay and mouths to feed."

–Tom Perez

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from Pew Research

    Facts on Minimum Wage in the U.S.

    1. 29 states have set their own higher minimum wage
    2. 52% of U.S. voters agree that the minimum wage should rise
    3. Nearly 30% of U.S. workers earn near minimum wage


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