4 Minimum Wage Exemptions Every HR Manager Should Know

A Human Resources Manager has to frequently make some very important decisions concerning employee relations and employment law. One of the most crucial being the decision of which employee the minimum wage laws to apply, some are set in stone by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Every HR Manager should have the most important minimum wage exemption information at his or her fingertips to make decisions that financially favor the company and at the same time enable them to hire the best talent. Here’s a quick reminder on the Federal Labor Standards Act on minimum wage:

“The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.”

Here are the top 4 categories of employees to which different rules apply.

Informal And/Or Tipped Workers

This category encompasses a wide variety of everyday jobs such as babysitting, taxicab driving, and newspaper delivery. These jobs aren’t only informal; they also may or may not be considered “tipped” jobs as well, such as those at restaurants. It’s interesting to note that small department firefighters and police officers join this list too, as do other miscellaneous job workers like airline salespeople, fishermen, amusement/recreational employees, farmers and radio jockeys. This is a broad category and may include subcategories such as overtime wage exemptions.

Disabled Employees

The FLSA allows employers to pay physically or mentally disabled employees whose disability affects their efficiency at work a salary lower than the minimum wage. This is done in the hope that this helps disabled citizens attract more jobs. An employer may apply at the Department Of Labor for this exemption.

Minors And Young Workers

Another important Minimum Wage exemption is for any employee under the age of 20. Such an employee can officially be paid a sub-minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of his or her employment, or until he or she turns 20. After this, the employer is obliged to pay the worker the standard minimum wage. The 90 days have been subject to much criticism, but continue as the assigned time period of the “training program” for young individuals.

Students And Organizations

Full-time students belonging to any institution can be hired for as little as 85% of the minimum wage.This exemption serving as an “educational program” for student workers under the “Full-Time Students Program”. Employers can also enjoy the benefit of paying a wage that is merely 75% of the minimum wage to students 16 years of age or older that are enrolled in a school, under the “Student Learner Program”. Speaking of educational programs, it is important to note that several higher educational institutions (as well as unrelated nonprofit organizations) apply for a certificate from the Department Of Labor to hire employees at a salary as low as 85% of the minimum wage.


All of the information regarding minimum wage and all of these special categories can be found on official web sites of the US government. You need to be aware that, except federal laws, every state has its own laws that regulate some of these questions. You need to check the laws of the state your business is located in.

Keeping these four major categories in mind is a must for every HR manager to ensure that the federal or state minimum wage laws apply only to workers not falling under any of them. It is also important to note, as shown by the last category, that the manager of Human Resources should make sure whether the organization he or she is working at is naturally exempted from hiring labor at minimum wage.

Even after reviewing all of these facts, HR managers have a big responsibility in obeying the law in all mentioned categories, but it is always possible to overlook something. Today, HR managers have many options in getting much-needed help and making their jobs easier.

One of the ways is using WorkBright, which is an excellent choice to make the HR manager’s job easier. All of the forms are filled and signed from home, so no need for overbearing paperwork, there is no way you can overlook an important piece of information because you don’t need to go through all of the paperwork. Your future employees will be reminded to send and fill all of the needed forms, so that is one less thing to worry about, and you will be able to review all of the forms as they come in. So now, less time is needed for paperwork and there is more time for new employees.