Just What Is the 2012 Federal Minimum Wage?

Knowing what you will be bringing home for income is critical to the success of any household, which means knowing what the 2012 Federal minimum wage is, as well as the minimum wages of your state or territory, is critical to your success as an individual or providing for your family. Some states and territories have different minimum wage rules, so many in the United States are not solely dependent on the 2012 Federal minimum wage.

The 2012 Federal Minimum Wage Is Not Changing

The 2012 Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour for hourly workers and $2.13 for tipped workers. This wage went into effect on July 24, 2009, as a part of a multi-step process to raise the minimum wage called the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. Though there has been some discussion to raise the 2012 Federal minimum wage to as high as $9.50 per hour, there have been no laws introduced or recently discussed that have the potential of making that happen as of now.

Are You Exempt from the 2012 Federal Minimum Wage?

Even though the 2012 Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, many states have laws that exempt certain groups of employees or certain employers from having to pay the full Federal minimum. Many states allow youth workers, defined as employees that are younger than 18 years old, to earn less than the Federal minimum. In addition, employers that gross less than a pre-determined amount in revenues per year often have a lower wage minimum they are required to meet. If your employer has a sub-minimum wage certificate, they have the ability to pay you based on performance, which can result in a much lower than minimum wage.

Many States Require Wages Higher Than the 2012 Federal Minimum Wage

The State of Washington leads the way at $9.04 per hour starting January 1, 2012, when it comes to states that pay more than the 2012 Federal minimum wage. In addition, some municipalities require a higher minimum wage in their communities in comparison to the rest of the state in which they reside. Some states also require different minimum wages per occupation or even what type of retail outlet they are.

US Territories Rarely Put the 2012 Federal Minimum Wage Into Practice

The territory of Guam is the only territory of the United States that will effectively enforce the 2012 Federal minimum wage. The US Virgin Islands also have a $7.25 per hour minimum wage, but they allow all employers with gross receipts of less than $150,000 to pay $4.30 per hour. In American Samoa, the minimum wage can be as low as $2.68 per hour, though there are planned $0.50 per hour increases coming September 2012. The Northern Mariana Islands have a minimum wage of $3.55 per hour, with plans on meeting the Federal minimum wage by 2015. The minimum wage in Puerto Rico is $4.10 per hour, though they do have a varying minimum wage based on industry that does go up to $7.25 per hour.

What this means is that when you are looking for a new job, it becomes important for you to know what the laws, regulations, and mandates of your area are when it comes what you should be getting paid. You could very well be in a position to be earning much more than the 2012 Federal minimum wage and not even realize it!