Youth Minimum Wage Expires After 90 Days

Youth Minimum Wage Expires After 90 Days

Every summer, hordes of young people descend on employers with the goal of earning money and gaining experience for the next stage of their lives. And every summer, employers walk a fine line between leveraging this new work force and overstretching its bounds. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is the sole federal agency that monitors child labor and enforces child labor laws through the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, which handles enforcement of the child labor provisions in the act, also published a final rule in July 2010 designed to protect children from hazards in the workplace. The 1996 Amendments to the FLSA allow employers to pay a youth minimum wage of at least $4.25 per hour to employees who have not yet turned 20 years of age during the first 90 consecutive days after initial employment. The law contains protections for employees that prohibit employers from displacing any employee to hire someone at the youth minimum wage.The 1996 Amendments to the FLSA allow employers to pay a youth minimum wage of at least $4.25 per hour to employees who have not yet turned 20 years of age during the first 90 consecutive days. The 90-day period starts with the first day of work and does not stop, even if the youth has a break in service. For example, if the youth works 30 days, takes a break for football season and comes back to work four months later, that 90-day period will have expired and the youth minimum wage no longer will be an option. Where a state or local law requires payment of a minimum wage higher than $4.25 and makes no exception for employees under age 20, the higher standard applies. Furthermore, employers may pay eligible employees the youth minimum wage only until the day before the employee turns 20. For more information, visit the Wage and Hour Division website at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

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