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Exceptions to the federal minimum wage

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2022 | Employment Law -- Employee |

The minimum wage exists to protect employees from exploitation. Workers whose employers willfully violate this law may wish to pursue a cause of action, not only against the company but also the individual person responsible for the personnel and pay decisions. However, there are exceptions to strict adherence to the minimum wage requirements.

Disabled workers

The government encourages hiring individuals with physical disabilities and mental disorders. Employers sometimes have permission to pay personnel within this category less.

Tip-earning workers

Certain occupations receive elective compensation from customers on top of a salary. Employers may pay less if adding gratuities surpasses the minimum wage bar. If not, the employer has a responsibility to compensate for the difference.

Nonprofit workers

Individuals serving charity organizations may be paid 85% of the minimum wage. The hope is that lowering operating costs translates into enhanced good deeds.


Enrollees in educational institutions do not have protection from minimum wage laws. It does not matter whether they are full-time learners or vocational students. Interns, though, may have coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Whether they do depends on a multitude of factors. Such variables include the type of employment and how much learning is taking place.

Younger workers

Employees under 20 years old may receive a wage of $4.25 per hour for the first three months they spend on the job.  A worker turning 20 before the 90 days expires ends this exemption.

Minimum wage violations are a serious matter. That said, paying someone less is not necessarily an offense. If you have questions regarding minimum wage requirements, you should consult with a knowledgeable and experienced employment law attorney.