2021 Federal and State Minimum Wages

The current federal minimum
wage is $7.25.

Some states set their own minimum wage laws. Employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are entitled to the higher minimum wage if they are subject to both the state and federal minimum wage.

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Who is exempt from earning the federal minimum wage?

There are certain groups of workers who are excluded from earning the federal minimum wage:

Youth Workers

When it comes to youth workers, employers can pay employees who are under the age of 20 a subminimum wage of $4.25. However, this wage can only be paid in a limited time period – 90 calendar days (not working days) following the first day of the youth’s employment.

Once the employee has a 20th birthday, the employer must raise the employee’s pay to the current minimum wage. If the 20th birthday falls during the 90-day period, the employer must adjust the employee’s wage from that point forward.

Tipped Employees

A tipped employee is someone who regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips (the current tipped rate is $2.13 an hour). Tips are property of the employee who earns them. Although tipped employees earn a lower hourly cash wage, the idea is that their tip income will bring them back up to the federal minimum wage, and possibly higher.

For employers to pay their employees a tipped wage, they take a tip credit. In order to claim the tip credit, employers must ensure that their employees make enough in tipped wages that will equate to the federal minimum wage. If an employee does not make enough in tipped wages to bring them to the federal minimum wage, employers must make up the difference.

Workers With Disabilities

Employers who employ workers with a disability, where their disability impairs their earning or productive capacity, may be authorized to pay those employees a subminimum wage. Employers must obtain an authorizing certificate from the Wage and Hour Division prior to paying subminimum wages to applicable employees.

Disabilities that may affect a worker include blindness, mental illness, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, alcoholism, and drug addiction. It’s important to note that a worker having a disability is not enough to warrant subminimum wage. The disability much be one where worker’s earning or productive capacity is impaired.

Student-Learners

Student-learners are high-school students who are at least sixteen years old are currently enrolled in an accredited school, college, or university, and is employed on a part-time basis. Employers may not pay student learners no less than 75% of the current minimum wage. Employers must receive an authorizing certificate before they can pay the subminimum wage.

Full-Time Students

Full-time students are those who are registered students. Certain employers, like retail or service stores, can pay full-time students no less than 85% of the current minimum wage. Employers must receive an authorizing certificate before they can pay the subminimum wage. The certificate also limits how many hours the student can work (8 hours a day and no more than 20 hours a week when school is in session).

2021 State Minimum Wages

States can set their own minimum wages as well. There are currently 31 states that have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage.

Minimum Wage Year By Year

*States that adopt the federal minimum wage
**Minimum wage enacted at a later date

State Compliance Posters

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City and County Minimum Wages

Individual cities and counties also can set their own minimum wages. Currently, there are 49 cities and counties that enact their own minimum wage.

However, some states prohibit individual cities and counties from enacting their own minimum wage laws for private-sector employees. Currently, there are 25 states that prohibit their cities and counties from setting a higher local minimum wage than the state’s minimum wage.

Some cities within these states will set their own minimum wage for special groups of people, like municipal workers and contractors, however, each ordinance will vary.

18 out of the 25 states prohibit their cities and counties from raising their minimum wage above $7.25 (these states adopt the minimum wage).

Only 7 of the states that prohibit cities and counties from setting their own minimum wages have a state minimum wage that’s higher than the federal wage.

States that Prohibit Higher Local Minimum Wages

Idaho

law passed in 2016;
adopts federal minimum wage

NORTH DAKOTA

law passed in 2019;
adopts federal minimum wage

WISCONSIN

law passed in 2005;
adopts federal minimum wage

MICHIGAN

law passed in 2015;
current minimum wage
$9.45

RHODE ISLAND

law passed in 2014;
current minimum wage
$10.45

OREGON

law passed in 2001;
current minimum wage
$11.25

IOWA

law passed in 2017
any existing wage increases were voided; adopts federal minimum wage

INDIANA

law passed in 2011;
adopts federal minimum wage

OHIO

law passed in 2016;
current minimum wage
$8.55

PENNSYLVANIA

law passed in 2006;
adopts federal minimum wage

Utah

law passed in 2011;
adopts federal minimum wage

Missouri

law passed in 2015;
current minimum wage
$8.60

Kentucky

law passed in 2017;
adopts federal minimum wage

Kansas

law passed in 2013;
adopts federal minimum wage

Arkansas

law passed in 2017;
current minimum wage
$9.25

Tennessee

law passed in 2011;
adopts federal minimum wage

North Carolina

law passed in 2002;
adopts federal minimum wage

South Carolina

law passed in 2002;
adopts federal minimum wage

OKLahoma

law passed in 2014;
adopts federal minimum wage

louisiana

law passed in 1997;
adopts federal minimum wage

misssissippi

law passed in 2013;
adopts federal minimum wage

alabama

law passed in 2016;
any existing wage increases were voided; adopts federal minimum wage

georgia

law passed in 2004;
adopts federal minimum wage

Texas

law passed in 2003;
adopts federal minimum wage

florida

law passed in 2003;
current minimum wage
$8.46

2021 City and County Minimum Wages

History of the Federal Minimum Wage

The first federal minimum wage was established in 1938 when Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This act established that those covered by the law are entitled to a minimum amount of pay for the work they’ve done.

Since its inception in 1938, the federal minimum wage has only been raised 22 times. The cadence between raises has varied, with some periods of time lasting longer than 5 years:

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