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Know Your Rights - Are You Being Paid At Least the Minimum?

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

Know your rights! Are you being paid at least the legal minimum wage? What is the legal minimum wage for your area? These are important questions and the answers can make a BIG difference. Let's get started and break this down.

Minimum wage is the lowest legal amount that an employer can pay their staff for work. The US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcing the nation's labor-related federal laws including supporting minimum wage. Even though we have federal laws for minimum wage, the actual wage amount can vary greatly depending on which city and/or state you live in. The map below shows the different minimum wage laws that exist in each US state.

IMAGE SOURCE: US Department of Labor website

As you can see, not every state has its own minimum wage laws. Check out the US Department of Labor's website to view an interactive map to find more details about the current laws in your own state.

In addition to regular minimum wage, there is also a legal sub-minimum wage for tipped workers. There are many jobs where employees receive some, most or all of their income from tips. Some of the most common tipped jobs include serving, hosting, bartending, barista, and valet. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) website has additional details for each state's minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for tipped earners.

IMAGE SOURCE: Economic Policy Institute website

The interactive map on the EPI website quickly shows whether there is a difference in the state's minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for tipped earners and also lists any recent major changes to the minimum wage laws in that state.

After you've learned more about the minimum wages in your state, you can use that information when searching for jobs and especially when negotiating your pay! Know your rights to ensure that you get paid fairly.

Next Steps:

* Educate yourself by reviewing the current federal minimum wage for your state.

* Know your rights and talk with your employer if you feel you are being paid less than what you should be.

* Review this website for additional resources from the US Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.

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Also Read:

* Know Your Rights - Illegal Interview Questions

* Know Your Company - Before Negotiating