Federal Minimum Wage Law

Your Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Federal Minimum Wage

$7.25 per hour
Effective July 24, 2009

Employees younger than 20 years of age may be paid $4.25 per hour during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer.

Certain full-time students, student learners, apprentices, and workers with disabilities may be paid less than the minimum wage under special certificates issued by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Tip Credit – Employers of “tipped employees” must pay a cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour if they claim a tip credit against their minimum wage obligation. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour do not equal the minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference. Certain other conditions must also be met.

Overtime Pay

At least 1 ½ times your regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

Child Labor

An employee must be at least 16 years old to work in most nonfarm jobs and at least 18 years old to work in nonfarm jobs declared hazardous by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Youths 14 and 15 years old may work outside school hours in various nonmanufacturing, nonmining, and nonhazardous jobs provided they work no more than:

  • 3 hours on a school day or 18 hours in a school week
  • 8 hours on a non–school day or 40 hours in a non–school week.

Also, work may not begin before 7 a.m. or end after 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m. Different rules apply in agricultural employment.


The Department of Labor may recover back wages, either administratively or through court action, for employees who have been underpaid in violation of the law. Violations may result in civil or criminal action.

Fines of up to $11,000 per violation may be assessed against employers who violate the child labor provisions of the law and up to $1,100 per violation against employers who willfully or repeatedly violate the minimum wage or overtime pay provisions. This law prohibits discriminating against or discharging workers who file a complaint or participate in any proceedings under the Act.


  • Certain occupations and establishments are exempt from the minimum wage and/ or overtime pay provisions.
  • Special provisions apply to workers in American Samoa.
  • Where state law requires a higher minimum wage, the higher standard applies.

For Additional Information – Contact the Wage and Hour Division office nearest you. It is listed in your telephone directory under United States Government, Labor Department.

The law requires employers to display this poster where employees can readily see it.

U.S. Department of Labor
Employment Standards Administration
Wage and Hour Division
Washington, D. C. 20210
WH Publication 1088

Revised October 1996