The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.
Occupations such as babysitting are not subject to the minimum wage law.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires a minimum of not less than $4.25 per hour for employees under 20 years of age during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer. After 90 days of employment, or when the worker reaches age 20 (whichever comes first), the worker must receive the minimum wage. Employers are prohibited from taking any action to displace employees in order to hire employees at the youth minimum wage. Also prohibited are partial displacements such as reducing employees hours, wages, or employment benefits.
Certain full-time students, student learners, apprentices and workers with disabilities may be paid less than the minimum wage under special certificates from the Secretary of Labor. This is commonly referred to as the sub-minimum wage.
Tipped employees. A tipped employee is any employee working in an occupation in which he or she regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. Many states have higher direct wage amounts for tipped employees.
Where state law requires a higher minimum wage, which many do, that higher standard applies.
DOL Web Pages on This Topic
Must Young Workers Be Paid the Minimum Wage?
Information on wage requirements.
Youth Minimum Wage Program
A brief synopsis of the youth minimum 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?"
Definition of Tipped Employee
Additional information on wages.
Minimum Wages for Tipped Employees
Some states have provisions pertaining to minor employees who work in occupations receiving tips. This page lists actual wage and tip amounts required to be paid to tipped employees as determined by state law.
Full-Time Student Program: Wages
Employers that hire full-time students in retail or service stores, agriculture, or colleges and universities may obtain a certificate from the Secretary of Labor allowing the student to be paid 85 percent of the minimum wage. A list of the limitations on the use of the full-time student program is available from the Department of Labor.
Student-Learner Program: Wages
High school students at least 16 years old who are enrolled in vocational education classes may be paid 75 percent of the minimum wage, if the employer obtains the proper certificate from the Secretary of Labor authorizing such payment.
Workers with Disabilities: Wages
Persons whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those related to age or injury, may be paid sub-minimum wages pursuant to a certificate issued by the Secretary of Labor.
Fact Sheet on the Employment of Workers with Disabilities at Special Minimum Wages
Provides general information concerning the application of section 14(c) of the FLSA.
Fact Sheet on Restaurants & Fast Food Establishments Under the FLSA
Discussion of issues specific to employment in restaurants, including information on wages, tips, and food credits.
General Information About the Fair Labor Standards Act
An overview of many aspects to the FLSA, ranging from child labor to enforcement.
elaws Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Advisor - Child Labor Rules
This Advisor answers questions about workers and businesses that are subject to the FLSA's child labor rules.
Minimum Wage Laws in the States
A map of the United States which indicates which states have minimum wage laws, states that have minimum wage rates higher or lower than the federal rate, or states with rates the same as the federal rate.
State Payday Requirements
A state-by-state breakdown of how often employers must pay their employees weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or semi-monthly.
State Labor Offices/State Laws
Information on state minimum wage rates and other state child labor topics.
State Departments of Labor Websites
Links to state departments of labor websites and contact information for each department.
Regulations on This Topic
29 CFR §570.2
Hazardous Occupations in Agriculture
29 CFR §§570.31-34
Child Labor Reg. 3 Employment of Minors Between 14 and 16 Years of Age