Subminimum Wage

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 Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division are required for this type of employment.

The youth minimum wage is authorized by the FLSA, which 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.

Information on special employment and subminimum wages are available from the Wage and Hour Division's Web site.

WebPages on this Topic

Fact Sheet on the Youth Minimum Wage - Answers a variety of questions about the minimum wage, including the subminimum wage.

Fact Sheet on the Employment of Workers with Disabilities at Special Minimum Wages - More information about the subminimum wage.

Questions and Answers About the Minimum Wage - Answers to questions ranging from "how often does the minimum wage increase" to "who ensures that workers are paid at least the minimum wage?"

Coverage Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Fact Sheet - General information about who is covered by the FLSA.

Laws on this Topic

29 USC Chapter 8, §206 - Minimum Wage Statutes