Q:

Do states have to follow the federal minimum wage?

A:

Quick Answer

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employees receive the higher of federal or state minimum wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. State law applies only if a state's minimum wage law sets a higher wage than the federal law.

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Full Answer

Some employees, however, are exempt from federal minimum wage laws, notes FindLaw. As of 2015, an employee who earns at least $455 per week; receives pay as a salary, as opposed to hourly; and works in an executive, professional or administrative position is not subject to minimum wage or overtime pay.

The Department of Labor also sets aside several categories of workers from standard minimum wage. People with disabilities, full-time students, student-learners and tipped employees have separate minimum wage regulations, but they still fall under the same jurisdiction of the greater of federal or state law.

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