As of 2015, Tennessee is one of five states that does not have a state-regulated minimum wage law. Tennessee has historically paid workers according to the federal minimum wage, which began at 75 cents in 1955 and is now $7.25 per hour.
The federal minimum wage has consistently risen every few years since its establishment in 1955, and Tennessee has followed this trend. From 1981 to 1989, the federal minimum wage remained at $3.35 an hour, despite inflation and rise of living costs. Also, from 2000 to 2007, the federal minimum wage remained at $5.15 per hour. Wages have risen periodically in between these dates, but in 2009, the federal minimum wage rose to $7.25 per hour.
As of 2015, the minimum wage has remained at $7.25 per hour for six years, despite the urging of many authority figures and minimum wage workers to raise the minimum wage in Tennessee. President Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour in his 2014 State of the Union address.
In 2014, there were 117,000 Tennessee workers being paid at or below the federal minimum wage. This figure accounted for approximately 7.5 percent of the workforce in Tennessee.