What is minimum wage?

Updated on March 1, 2024

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Minimum wage definition and meaning

Minimum wage is the lowest wage an employer can pay an eligible employee to work and is set by the federal government.  Local and state municipalities may determine their own minimum wage rates, but they must be above the federal rate to take effect.


More about minimum wage

While there is a federal minimum wage, many states also have their own minimum wage requirements. Some counties and cities even have their own minimum rates for employers to keep tabs on. Periodically, the federal government reassesses the minimum wage, to make sure it appropriately covers an appropriate standard of living to and protect the health and well-being of employees.


As of January 2024, the US national minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

Using minimum wage in a sentence

“Despite holding a degree, the job market in my town has me working for minimum wage.”

Terms related to: Minimum Wage

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