Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can states have no minimum wage, or pay less than the federal minimum wage?

Asked by Dutchess_III (43577points) November 14th, 2014

This map says they do just that (it’s the second map down.)

I thought that would be illegal.

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6 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If they (their companies) have no interstate commerce they are probably okay to have different minimum wage laws.

jerv's avatar

Technically, they can and can’t. The state can have a lower minimum wage, but employers cannot actually pay below the lower of the state or federal minimum wage.

However, you will note that the states that do run it that way are those that refuse to admit that they lost in 1865 and still think of themselves as a sovereign nation.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And want to bet those states are Republican states?

SavoirFaire's avatar

The federal minimum wage law is written in such a way that it only overrides state minimum wage laws if the state pays less than the federal minimum wage. So a state can have no minimum wage law on the books or a minimum wage law that requires less than the federal minimum wage, but those laws are irrelevant so long as the federal minimum wage law is in place.

The states that have lower minimum wage requirements than the federal government have either decided to default to the federal minimum wage or are preparing/hoping for the day that the federal minimum wage gets repealed or reduced. The latter is actually a common tactic in states that are antagonistic to federal regulations. They pass unenforceable laws with an eye towards a future in which they might be enforceable.

jerv's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Most are.

The irony there is that those are also the states with the highest poverty rates, something that Republicans claim minimum wage causes. Of course, they oppose extended unemployment benefits even though that move costs jobs and their other policies don’t create jobs.

It is for that reason that anyone who considers lower wages to be good for business (in the form of profits) or the economy (job creation, GDP, stock prices…) is someone who I cannot take seriously about anything after they mention that opinion. That attitude makes some people think I’m a Liberal when the truth is that I an just anti-idiot, and have low opinions of those who insist on being hypocrites.

JLeslie's avatar

Basically no. The Federal minimum is the minimum for the country whether the state law is written somewhere as less or not. Many states write into their laws that they follow the federal minimum and as the fed changes they don’t need to change anything in the books. Some states exceed the fed minimum with a higher minimum. It’s the same for some other basic labor laws like breaks, overtime, etc.

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