Minimum wage law is the body of law enacted under the U.S. Department of Labor’s FairPay Rules. that prohibits employers from hiring employees and workers for less than a given hourly, daily, or monthly minimum wage. Today, more than 90% of countries have some form of law for minimum wage earners. Minimum wage amounts vary from state to state and country to country.
The first moves to legislate wages did not set minimum wages. The laws instead created arbitration boards and councils to resolve wage disputes. The evolution of minimum wage into what it is today can been seen in the following time line.
|1896||The Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act of New Zealand creates arbitration boards for wage disputes.|
|1899||The colony of Victoria, Austria creates similar arbitration boards|
|1907||Australia establishes a “living wage” for man, wife, and 2 children to “live in frugal comfort”, set by the Harvester Decision.|
|1909||Trade Boards Act in the United Kingdom establishes 4 arbitration boards handling wage disputes.|
|1912||Massachusetts and United States set minimum wages for women and children.|
|1923||The Supreme Court strikes down a Washington, D.C. minimum wage law, finding that it impeded the worker’s rights to set their own price for his labor.|
|1938||National minimum wage standards were set as statutory in the United States with the introduction of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).|
|1960’s||Minimum wage laws were introduced into Latin America as part of the Alliance for Progress; however their minimum wages are much lower than the U.S.|
|2007||The Fair Minimum Wage Act of the United States is introduced and remains the current law governing minimum wage in the U.S. The current minimum wage in the U.S. is set at $7.25/ hour. 1960’s Minimum wage laws were introduced into Latin America as part of the Alliance for Progress; however their minimum wages are much lower than the U.S.|
Current minimum wage law in the United States is mandated by the guidelines set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA Laws). The Fair Minimum Wage Act, signed into law on May 25, 2007, has implemented three increases to the federal minimum wage set by FLSA. The first increase was from $5.15 an hour to $5.85 per hour on July 24, 2007. It then increased to $6.55 per hour on July 24, 2008, and finally to $7.25 an hour on July 24, 2009.
Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee are the only states that have not yet set a minimum wage law.
The first “wage” law was instituted in Australia and New Zealand in the 1890’s. However, this law did not set a minimum wage, rather it created arbitration boards. Frequent, bitter strikes from disgruntled workers created a need for a law that designated arbitration boards and counsels to settle wage disputes. The colony of Victoria, Austria was not far behind, creating similar arbitration boards. Still, a standard wage amount was never addressed until 1907 when Australia established “living wage” for man, wife, and 2 children to “live in frugal comfort”. The U.S. and Massachusetts set a minimum wage for women and children in 1912, but it was not until 1938 that a statutory minimum wage was set as a national standard under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Minimum wages were first proposed as a way to control the proliferation of sweat shops and manufacturing industries. The current national standard for minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 an hour, however there are a handful of states that pay even more than the standard minimum, and others that are set at less. If you are not being paid at least the minimum wage set forth in the FLSA minimum wage regulations, a good minimum wage attorney may be able to help you recover the unpaid wages you may be entitled to receive.