Ohio Labor Laws

Updated: 03/06/2020

Ohio Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Ohio is $8.70 per hour with a tipped wage (before tip credits) of $4.35 per hour as of January 2020.

USA map with Ohio superimposed

Ohio Combined Federal and State Kit plus Update Service

Have all of your state and federal required posters updated whenever the laws change.

History of Ohio Labor Laws

Ohio has a strong history of labor organization and protection of labor rights. Strikes are recorded as far back as 1899 with the first being the Streetcar Strike.

Even before then, Ohio became one of the first states to restrict child labor. In 1852 the hours that children could work were limited, and those under 12 were no longer allowed to work in mines. By 1921, the Bing Act was passed and required children to attend school through the age of 18.

By 1953, Ohio adopted a minimal right to work stance that allows workers to opt out of joining a union, but it still requires unions to represent all employees.

For the last part of the 20th century, labor laws became mostly settled in Ohio, with relatively straightforward wage-and-hour laws. Minimum wage concerns are the primary labor law issues in contention in the early 21st century. A movement for a higher minimum wage standard resulted in municipalities wanting to set their local minimum wage rates.

Municipality Minimum Wage Laws

Ohio forbids municipalities within its borders from raising the minimum wage or enacting any minimum wage law at a rate different from the primary state rate. This rule was passed in 2017, just after Cleveland had approved a plan to allow local voters to vote on a plan raising the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Ohio Minimum Wage Law Exemptions

In addition to exemptions under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), Ohio has several categories exempt from minimum wage laws.

Employees in Ohio that are under the age of 16 can be paid the federal minimum wage instead of the Ohio minimum wage.

Those that are under 18 and work at camps run by nonprofits are exempt from Ohio minimum wage rules.

Ohio minimum wage law also makes an exemption for employers that earn $319,000 or less based on gross receipts from the previous year. These businesses are allowed to pay their employees the federal minimum wage. The annual gross receipts threshold is adjusted each year on January 1 and is tied to the Consumer Price Index.

Individual professionals are exempted from Ohio minimum wage as long as their duties are not classified merely to avoid minimum wage. These professionals include, but may not be limited to, commissioned salesmen, executives, administrative workers and computer professionals.

Employees of businesses that are family-owned and operated who are relatives of the owner are also exempt from Ohio minimum wage statutes.

Babysitters (in the home where the baby lives) and live-in caregivers for elderly or ill individuals are exempt from Ohio minimum wage law so as long as housekeeping is not a primary duty.

Volunteers for public agencies run by a government entity, and volunteers at hospitals or similar health institutions or food banks, are exempted explicitly from Ohio minimum wage so long as restrictions are followed.

These restrictions vary by situation and can include not seeking payment, not receiving expense reimbursement, and that the individual does not already provide similar services as a paid employee for the same employer.

Ohio has a special minimum wage law for disabled individuals whose challenges interfere with their earning capacity. For those individuals, employers may apply for a license to pay disabled individuals less than the current minimum wage, at a rate determined by the Ohio Department of Commerce Director.

Different licenses may be applied for based on employment and facility type. These include temporary on-the-job training, an individual rate within a facility, sheltered workplace programs, and work activity centers.

Those working for the state, a city, the federal government, or other government entities may be exempted under certain conditions from Ohio minimum wage as well.

Ohio Posting Requirements

Ohio posting requirements are minimal, but applicable federal labor law posting requirements must also be followed. Included as part of Ohio's posting requirements are the Ohio minimum wage poster and the Ohio wage non-discrimination rules.

Required Posters:

  • Ohio Minimum Wage
  • Federal Minimum Wage
  • Ohio non-discrimination in wages
  • Fair Employment
  • Child Labor
  • Unemployment
  • No Smoking Sign

Tipped Wage in Ohio

Ohio's minimum wage ordinance allows tip credit to be used to pay tipped workers half of Ohio's current minimum wage rate.

As of January 2020, that rate is $4.35 per hour (half of $8.70 per hour). This rate is reviewed each year on September 30 and adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index.

However, Ohio requires that tips plus credit equal at least Ohio’s full minimum wage for all hours worked.

As with federal law under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Ohio requires that if direct pay and tips do not equal the Ohio minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference to the employee.

Employees can only be considered tipped employees if they normally receive tips and their tips usually exceed $30 per month.

Under federal rules, mandatory fees added to checks, even if labeled as a gratuity, are not considered tips, and employers may claim those fees if desired. However, the IRS began incentives in 2014 on taxes to attempt to discourage the practice.

If tips are left on a credit card, employers may not deduct credit card processing fees from employee tips.

Overtime Wage in Ohio

Ohio overtime law requires employers to pay one and one-half times an employee's regular rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

The workweek must be pre-established and cannot stretch beyond seven consecutive days.

However, Ohio employers with less than $150,000 in gross revenue per year are exempt from paying overtime. Those employers do not have to pay any overtime rate for hours over 40 according to Ohio labor laws. However, as with all state laws, federal laws take precedence. For example, if an employer or employee is covered by FLSA or Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA), the employer must follow the federal law if it is more favorable to the employee.

Even though Ohio forbids municipalities from setting their own minimum wage rates, there are some exceptions. Cities and counties are allowed to exempt themselves from Ohio overtime wage rules so long as they create and institute an alternative overtime plan and give adequate notice to affected employees. Municipalities may also allow employees to take compensatory time instead of overtime pay.

In general, the same exemptions for minimum wage apply for overtime as well. Several other exceptions to overtime rules are also provided in the state minimum wage statute. Franchisors for one are not responsible for the franchisee or franchisee employee hours. Same goes for agriculture workers, police officers, firefighters, newspaper delivery workers, and those employed by the state legislature.

There are relatively complex rules for owner-operator motor carriers (land or water), and drivers may be exempt in some cases.

Child Labor Laws in Ohio

Ohio child labor laws cover those under age 18 with some exceptions. Notably, minors who are heads of household or have graduated high school (or received an equivalency diploma) are exempted.

Simply being a minor does not exempt a worker from the Ohio minimum wage. However, in some cases, those under the age of 16 may be paid the current Federal minimum wage instead of the Ohio minimum wage rate. Minors working in camps run by nonprofits and those who are working as babysitters are also exempted from the Ohio minimum wage.

Coverage exceptions to the child labor law rules in Ohio mostly apply to minors in non-traditional work settings. These include minors in training programs within a school setting, parent-authorized charity work in some cases, newspaper delivery work, lawn mowing, and similar work, some entertainment and acting work, and minors employed by parents unless otherwise prohibited.

Minors working in agriculture where their family or guardians own the operation may be exempt, but this does not include children living in labor camps.

Ohio also has exemptions for minors who are disabled and living in sheltered circumstances, as these minors fall under disabled labor laws.

Hazardous employment is prohibited for minors in Ohio, and the definition of what activities are considered dangerous is determined based on the Fair Labor Standards Act. However, Ohio does allow minors 16 and 17 years old to participate in manufacturing mentorship programs with some restrictions.

Further, some minors in the juvenile justice system are exempt from Ohio child labor laws.

Covered minors who are required to be enrolled in school must obtain and present a schooling certificate to an employer before they can work.

Hours that can be worked for minors age 17 and under are restricted under Ohio rules.

Employer Recordkeeping Requirements

For minimum wage workers, Ohio requires certain information to be kept for at least three years. These required employment records must be available for inspection by the Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce, and copies must be provided when requested.

Records kept must include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Occupation
  • Rate of Pay
  • Amount paid to the employee each pay period
  • Hours worked on each day
  • Hours worked each workweek

Additional records may be required by federal law, and times of retention may vary.

Recent Ohio Labor Law Updates

As of January 2020, the latest Ohio labor law updates have been about changes to the minimum wage for the state. These changes were annual adjustments tied to the Consumer Price Index.

Minimum Wage - Mandatory - October 2019

The Ohio Minimum Wage poster has been updated to reflect an increase in the minimum wage. The minimum wage in Ohio will increase from $8.55 per hour to $8.70 per hour effective January 1, 2020, for non-tipped employees, and from $4.30 per hour to $4.35 per hour for tipped employees.

Minimum Wage - Mandatory - October 2018

The Ohio Minimum Wage poster has been updated to reflect an increase in the minimum wage. Ohio's minimum wage will increase from $8.30 per hour to $8.55 per hour effective January 1, 2019, for non-tipped employees, and from $4.15 per hour to $4.30 per hour for tipped employees.

Minimum Wage - Mandatory - October 2017

The Ohio Minimum Wage poster has been updated to reflect a new minimum wage rate effective January 1, 2018. The Ohio minimum wage rate will increase from $8.15 per hour to $8.30 per hour for non-tipped employees and from $4.08 per hour to $4.15 per hour for tipped employees.

Ohio Labor Law Frequently Asked Questions

Ohio Combined Federal and State Kit plus Update Service

Have all of your state and federal required posters updated whenever the laws change.