The minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage you can legally pay your workers. The minimum wage laws exist to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and paid an honest wage for their work. Staying up to date on the federal minimum wage rates for 2017 is relatively easy to do since it has not changed since July 2009. The wage is $7.25 per hour. However, things get more complicated at the state level. Some states have higher minimum wage rates than the federal rate. In addition, there are exceptions for some cities with higher costs of living. Exceptions also apply to federal contracts, tipped employees and, in the state of Massachusetts, employees who work on Sundays.
Why You Need to Comply with Minimum Wage Rates
One of the most common HR and compliance issues facing businesses today is paying employees fairly. To avoid federal wage and hour violations, you must make sure you comply with all federal and state minimum wage rates as well as any exemptions or exceptions that may occur in your state, city, or industry. Not complying can result in fines or even class action lawsuits that can ruin your business.
Tips to Help You Comply
Fortunately, compliance is not difficult if you have the right payroll and time tracking solutions in place. What follows are tips to keep you and your HR team compliant.
Assign an HR Team Member to Stay Updated
Laws can change quickly, especially on the state and local levels. It’s important that you have an HR member who keeps up on all the updates and incorporates them into your payroll. Though your entire HR team should be aware of changes, assigning one point person to keep up to date is the best way to ensure that no balls are dropped or updates missed.
Know Where Your Business Fits In
Do you know which laws apply to your workers and why? Laws can change depending on whether or not your workers receive tips in their line of work, which cities they live and work in, and, in some states, whether or not they receive health care benefits. Overtime laws also need to be taken into consideration. Your HR department needs to be well-educated on the different types of employees who work for you and how the labor laws apply to them. Employees should be classified during the onboarding process and your entire workforce should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure continued compliance.
Consider a Biometric Time & Attendance System
It can be tough to stay on top of which employees have exemptions, get paid more than minimum wage, or whose rate changes based on project or schedule. You can make this much more simple by using an HR system that features biometric time and attendance software. Your HR team can enter which employees are subject to what rate of pay and if this changes due to shift or project. The system will take care of the rest and adjust accordingly. This takes time-intensive work off your HR team’s shoulders and makes it much easier to keep track of various pay scales, exemptions, and overtime issues.
State by State Federal Minimum Wage Rates 2017
Below is a list of minimum wages on a state-by-state basis. Be aware that these are subject to exemptions and exceptions based on a number of issues. For further information, visit this site.
California: $10.50 with exceptions occurring in Emeryville, Los Angeles, Oakland, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose.
District of Columbia: $11.50
Florida: $8.10 with exceptions occurring in Miami Beach.
– Miami Beach: $10.31
Illinois: $8.25 with exceptions occurring in Chicago.
Kentucky: $7.25 with exceptions occurring in Louisville and for state workers.
Minnesota: $7.75 for small employers and $9.50 for large employers.
Nevada: $7.25 for employees with health benefits, $8.25 for those with no benefits.
New Hampshire: $7.25
New Jersey: $8.44
New Mexico: $7.50 with exceptions occurring in Albuquerque.
New York: $9.70 with exceptions for fast food workers.
North Carolina: $7.25
North Dakota: $7.25
Puerto Rico: $7.25
Rhode Island: $9.60
South Carolina: $7.25
South Dakota: $8.65
Washington: $11.00 with exceptions occurring in Seattle.
West Virginia: $8.75
Staying up-to-date and compliant with minimum wage laws is an important part of your HR team’s job. To make their jobs easier and ensure that you do not open your business up to wage and hour claims, consider utilizing an HR system with time and attendance tools. Minimum wage laws help keep the economy a fair and stable environment in which to work. Compliance is not only mandatory, but it’s also ethical.