Getting Paid Less Than Minimum Wage: When Is It Legal?

What is the current minimum wage in Kansas?

The current minimum wage in Kansas is $7.25 per hour. This is the same as the federal minimum wage, and is the minimum hourly rate a non-exempt worker can be paid for work.

The federal minimum wage was last updated in 2009, and overrides any state laws that provide for a lower minimum wage. This ensures that the minimum wage across the country is $7.25 per hour.

Why are some people paid less than minimum wage?

Some jobs, including workers that receive tips, workers who are students in high school or college, certain laborers, seasonal workers, people performing informal work like babysitting, and certain workers with disabilities, are exempt from minimum wage.

  • Restaurant workers and other tipped employees are often paid the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 per hour. These employees can be paid an amount less than the federal minimum wage, as long their tips add up to more than the minimum wage every hour.
  • Workers under 20 years of age can be paid a minimum wage of $4.25 for the first 90 days of employment, which is regarded as a training period. After the 90 days have passed, or once the worker turns 20, the worker must be paid the full minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
  • Full-time vocational students who are 16 or older may be paid a sub-minimum wage of 75% of the federal or state minimum wage as long as the employer has a certificate from the Department of Labor indicating that the worker is in a Student Learner Program.
  • The Department of Labor’s Full-Time Student program allows full-time students working in retail or service jobs, agriculture, or colleges and universities to be paid at 85% of minimum wage, as long as they are registered as full-time students.

Will minimum wage be raised?

Ever since the idea of a federally mandated minimum wage was introduced in 1938, the topic has been hotly debated. Prior to 1938, there was little legislation to protect workers from exploitation.

Early attempts by labor unions to create a mandatory minimum wage were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that they "restricted the worker's right to set the price for his own labor". This allowed employers to exploit workers throughout the Great Depression, when the incredible demand for jobs caused wages to drop to an all-time low. As poverty become an important national issue, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1936 re-election campaign promised to protect American workers with a federally mandated minimum wage.

In 1938, Roosevelt introduced sweeping legislation that protected American workers from exploitation, and created a mandatory federal minimum wage of 25 cents an hour. This legislative initiative was called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and was enacted to maintain "a minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being, without substantially curtailing employment." The law was welcomed by workers who previously were forced to work for a fraction of that amount, but was opposed by employers and fiscal conservatives who were concerned that a minimum wage would harm employers and the economy.

In the years since the introduction of the FLSA, Congress has revised the federal minimum wage every few years to account for inflation and changes to the cost of living. In 1997, President Bill Clinton introduced legislation that allowed states to set their own minimum wage rates. As a result, some states have enacted minimum wage laws that specify a higher minimum wage than what is required under the FLSA, or offer additional protections against employers who exploit their workers.

Labor activists continue to push for a higher minimum wage, claiming that the current minimum wage is too low to serve as an adequate living wage. Employer organizations counter that raising the minimum wage harms the economy and actually hurts workers in the long-run because employers will be forced to reduce staff and hire employ fewer workers.

What should I do if I am not being paid minimum wage?

If your employer is not paying you minimum wage and you do not fall into one of the exceptions or exemptions, you can file an anonymous complaint with the Federal Department of Labor. We also recommend that you contact a skilled and experienced wage and hour attorney to see if you might have a case. Employers who do not comply with federal minimum wage requirements are subject to heavy fines. You may be eligible for restitution, back-pay, and civil damages.

Questions About Claims Under the FLSA? Contact Brady & Associates Today

If you have questions about claims under the FLSA, or believe your employer violated your right to a minimum wage, contact the experienced wage and hour lawyers at Brady & Associates.

For More Information

Fill out our online form