State Minimum Wages: An Overview

Source: David H. Bradley, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report for Congress, R43792, February 3, 2016

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), enacted in 1938, is the federal legislation that establishes tthe general minimum wage that must be paid to all covered workers. While the FLSA mandates broad minimum wage coverage, states have the option of establishing minimum wage rates that are different from those set in it. Under the provisions of the FLSA, an individual is generally covered by the higher of the state or federal minimum wage. As of 2016, 29 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates above the federal rate of $7.25 per hour, with rates ranging from $0.25 to $4.25 above the federal rate. Two states have minimum wage rates below the federal rate and five states have no state minimum wage requirement. The remaining 14 states have minimum wage rates equal to the federal rate….. This report begins with a brief discussion of FLSA minimum wage coverage. It then provides a summary of state minimum wage laws, followed by an examination of rates and mechanisms of adjustments in states with minimum wage levels above the FLSA rate (Table 1 provides summary data). Next, the report discusses the interaction of federal and state minimum wages over time, and finally, the Appendix provides detailed information on the major components of minimum wage policies in all 50 states and DC….