Can I be paid less than the minimum wage if I work a commission-only sales job?

Some salespeople are exempt from minimum wage and overtime laws.

Question:I have taken a sales job recently as an outside marketing representative. My earnings are 100% commission. The amount I have been earning working full time for a whole month has been less than minimum wage per hour. Is this legal?

Answer:It depends. Most employees are entitled to earn at least the minimum hourly wage, whether they are paid hourly, on a salary basis, by piece, by commission, or in any other way. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25; if your state or local government has a higher minimum wage, you are entitled to the higher amount.

However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you are an independent contractor rather than an employee, you aren’t protected by the minimum wage laws.

Under federal law, outside salespeople are also not entitled to the minimum wage. An outside salesperson is an employee who customarily and regularly works away from the employer’s place of business, and whose primary duty is making or taking orders to sell goods, services, or the use of facilities. If you fit within this definition, you may be exempt from the federal minimum wage and overtime laws. However, if a state or local law entitles you to the minimum wage, you might still be protected.

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