Minimum Wage

When the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) first became law, as part of the New Deal in the 1930s, the minimum wage was 25 cents an hour. These days, the federal minimum is $7.25, and many states (and local governments) have a higher minimum wage. Employees are entitled to the highest minimum wage that applies where they work, whether federal, state, or local.

Special wage rules apply to employees who receive tips and employees whose employers take paycheck deductions for work-related items; we cover these rules below. You’ll also find information on when employees are entitled to be paid for travel time and time spent on call, two situations that lead to a lot of confusion and legal disputes.

Articles on Pay and the Minimum Wage

On-Call Time: Are You Entitled to Be Paid?
You may be entitled to compensation, even for hours you don’t spend working, if you must be on call for your job.

Travel Time: Are You Entitled to Be Paid?
Your employer doesn’t have to pay your commuting time, but may have to pay for other time you spend traveling for work.

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.

Do I have to pay for a uniform bearing the company logo?
The rules depend on your state’s laws.

Can my employer withhold from my paycheck for a payroll error?
In California, the answer is no.

Can my employer require me to buy my own laptop for work?
Using personal laptops, notebooks, and smart phones for work is a big trend these days.

Resources on Pay and the Minimum Wage

Your Rights in the Workplace
Nolo’s indispensable guide to employee rights, including the right to fair pay.

The Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
This federal agency enforces the minimum wage and other pay requirements; its website includes detailed factsheets and other free materials.

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