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Wages and Hours Worked:

Subminimum Wage

Frequently Asked Questions

OVERVIEW

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for the employment of certain individuals at wage rates below the minimum wage. These individuals include student-learners (vocational education students), as well as full-time students employed by retail or service establishments, agriculture, or institutions of higher education. Also included are individuals whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those related to age or injury, for the work to be performed.

Employment at less than the minimum wage is designed to prevent the loss of employment opportunities for these individuals. Certificates issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division are required for this type of employment.

The youth minimum wage, authorized by the FLSA, allows employers to pay employees under 20 years of age a lower wage for 90 calendar days after they are first employed. Any wage rate above $4.25 an hour may be paid to eligible workers during this 90-day period.

COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE MATERIALS

BASIC INFORMATION

FACT SHEETS

E-TOOLS

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

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - Establishes minimum wages, overtime pay, record keeping and child labor standards for private sector and government workers.
  • 29 CFR Part 519 - Regulations on the employment of full-time students at subminimum wages.
  • 29 CFR Part 520 - Regulations on the employment of learners, apprentices, and others.
  • 29 CFR Part 525 - Regulations on the employment of workers with disabilities.

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.