My son turned 16 this past January and is now looking for his first part-time job. I’m constantly on the lookout for signs that employers are hiring, so I can relay that information to my son and encourage him to submit an application.
During one of our conversations about entering the workforce, my son asked how much he could expect to earn per hour. There are a lot of recent changes to the minimum wage laws in my state, so I decided to do a little investigation together.
Federal Minimum Wage Exceptions
According the Department Of Labor’s website, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule:
- Youth Minimum Wage: A person under the age of 20 can be paid a reduced minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment. After that 90 days the wage must be increased to the federal minimum wage and that employee cannot be fired to hire a different employee at the reduced minimum wage rate.
- Tipped Workers: An employee that earns tips must be paid an minimum of $2.13 per hour with enough tips to equal $7.25 an hour.
- State Minimum Wage Laws: If a state has a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage, the higher wage must be paid.
This was good information, however we needed to find out whether our great state of Minnesota had its own minimum wage laws. Doing some more research, I found a government article that lists their minimum wage laws state-by-state.
Minimum Wage Laws by State
The laws vary by each state, and some states don’t even have their own minimum wage law. For our state, the law is as follows:
- Large Employer (annual receipts > $500,000): $8.00 per hour
- Small Employer (annual receipts < $500,000): $6.50 per hour
The companies that my son has applied with are definitely large employers. I could see the wheels turning in his head as he used the numbers to calculate how much he would earn by working 10-15 hours a week.
If you’re looking for work, or have a teenager who is just getting started in the workforce, it’s important to understand that minimum wage laws vary by state.
With the current state of the economy, employers may or may not be offering starting wages higher than the minimum wage. But by looking into our state’s specific minimum wage law we were able to calculate how much my son would earn when he gets his first job.
In addition, we know what his rights for payment are and can be sure to make his first job experience a successful one.
How does your state’s minimum wage law compare? What loopholes qualify you to receive higher pay?