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Why isn’t the minimum wage the same everywhere?

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2021 | Employment Law

One of the basic aspects of hiring employees is that you must pay them as much as the state and federal minimum wage laws dictate. However, the amount you have to pay can vary from location to location.

While certain municipalities can enact even more stringent minimum wages, here in California, the minimum wage in 2021 is $13.00 per hour or $14.00 per hour, depending on how many employees the company has. Other states don’t have a minimum wage at all. Why is it different?

States can set their own minimum wages, as long as they conform to federal law

States have the power to determine their own minimum wages. That wage is different based on legislation passed in each specific state, and the federal government does not force them to be uniform in their decisions.

That said, the minimum wage in every state does have to be at least the amount of the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25. States cannot go below that level. Many states, such as California, have set it far higher because lawmakers in part due to the cost of living in our state.

States that do not choose to put a minimum wage in place at all are essentially opting to do whatever the federal government tells them. They could have no laws in place regarding this wage one way or the other, and they still have to pay at least $7.25. This could increase if the federal government raises that minimum wage.

If your company has been accused of unfairly paying workers below the minimum wage, you must know what legal options you have to defend your company and your reputation.