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Wages and Hours Worked:

Minimum Wage


Frequently Asked Questions

OVERVIEW

The federal minimum wage for covered, nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. The federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is administered and enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division. Many states also have minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.

The FLSA contains some exceptions (or exemptions) from the minimum wage requirement. Some exceptions apply to specific types of businesses and others apply to specific types of work. It also provides for the employment of certain individuals at wage rates below the minimum wage. See subminimum wages.

Wages required by FLSA are due on the regular payday for the pay period covered. Deductions made from wages for such items as cash or merchandise shortages, employer-required uniforms, and tools of the trade, are not legal to the extent that they reduce the wages of employees below the minimum rate required by FLSA or reduce the amount of overtime pay due under FLSA.

The FLSA does not provide for wage payment or collection procedures for an employee's wages or commissions in excess of those required by the FLSA. However, some states do have laws under which such claims may be filed.

Federal employees are subject to additional rules enforced by the Office of Personnel Management.

It should also be noted that there are a number of employment practices that the FLSA does not regulate. For example, FLSA does not require:

  • vacation, holiday, severance, or sick pay;
  • meal or rest periods, holidays off, or vacations;
  • premium pay for weekend or holiday work;
  • pay raises or fringe benefits; and
  • a discharge notice, reason for discharge, or immediate payment of final wages to terminated employees.

COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE MATERIALS

BASIC INFORMATION

FACT SHEETS

E-TOOLS

POSTERS

RECORDKEEPING

Every covered employer must keep certain records for each non-exempt worker. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires no particular form for the records, but does require that the records include certain identifying information about the employee and data about the hours worked and the wages earned. For a listing of the basic records that an employer must maintain, see the FLSA recordkeeping fact sheet.

Prior to paying an employed person the subminimum wage, as allowed under certain provisions of the FLSA, employers may have to apply for a certificate from the U. S. Department of Labor. See the form instructions page for additional information.

APPLICABLE LAWS AND REGULATIONS

RELATED TOPICS AND LINKS

  • State Labor Offices - When the state laws differ from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer must comply with the standard most protective to employees.
  • State Labor Laws

DOL CONTACTS*

  • Wage and Hour Division
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room S-3502
    Washington, DC 20210
    Contact WHD
    Tel: 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Local Offices

  • For questions on other DOL laws,
    please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365). Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
    Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.