Minimum Wage Laws & Legislation

March 19, 2013

In his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.  2013 WLNR 3560204.  Several other states have seen recent proposals to increase minimum wages on the state level. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton supports an increase in their minimum wage, which currently sits below the federal rate of $7.25.  Minnesota’s minimum wage is currently $6.15 an hour for large employers, and $5.25 for small employers. M.S.A. § 177.24. Governor Dayton supports an increase to $9.00 or $9.50 an hour.

Supporters of minimum wage increases argue that wages would help minimum wage earners, and allow them to generate more economic activity. 2013 WLNR 4916827. Those opposing minimum wage hikes argue that raising the minimum wage will severely impact businesses, and curtail job creation. 2013 WLNR 4360179.

You can check out the proposed Minnesota legislation on raising the minimum wage  by pulling up the current statute:  M.S.A. § 177.24.  Click on the yellow flag to view the pending proposed legislation. The most recent version available appears first.  As of March 15, that was 2013 MN H.F. 92 (NS).



A 50-state survey of US Minimum wage law can be found here on Westlaw: 0060 SURVEYS 14.

This document lists each state and directs you to where the relevant statutory section(s) are located in each jurisdiction. Interestingly, nearly half of the cited statutes have yellow KeyCite flags indicating they are subject to some proposed legislation. You can simply view the KeyCite information for each statute or, try a simple search for minimum wage in proposed/enacted legislation:

MINIMUM /2 WAGE & DA(2013)

You might try this method because, not all states have existing minimum wage statutes.  Note, for example, when you filter for Mississippi, the query delivers what some have called a Republican response to President Obama’s proposals:

2013 MS S.B. 2473 (NS)


The 50-state survey also includes a PDF with a table outlining both the rates and sub-minimum rates for each state.



There has been discussion about the role of tips in regards to minimum wage laws. Some argue that there should be an exception for minimum wage requirements for restaurant servers’, who receive tips in addition to hourly wages. The majority of minimum wage laws include what are known as “tip credits” that allow employers to pay employees receiving tips less than minimum wage. 2013 WLNR 5365004.

I ran a search in secondary materials to find articles discussing the role of tips as related to minimum wage laws. I suspected there might be a lot of results, so I started by just looking in one of our more popular secondary resources, American Law Reports (ALR). I click on “Secondary Sources” from the home page, and then “American Law Reports.” I ran the following search in ALR:


There are 26 articles, including:

Tips as Wages for Purposes of Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 46 A.L.R. Fed. 2d 23

Tips as Wages for Purposes of State Wage Laws, 61 A.L.R.6th 61

Validity of statute or regulation in respect of tips, 147 A.L.R. 1039

Applicability of sales tax to “tips” or service charges added in lieu of tips, 73 A.L.R.3d 1226

In all Secondary Sources, I limited my search by forcing the terms to appear in the title or preliminary field(s):


There are 140 results, including:

Tip credit, 1 Wage and Hour Law § 8:25

Tips, 1 Guide to Employment Law and Regulation § 12:13

How federal rules on tips are applied, 3 Emp. Coord. Compensation § 17:53

Pooled tips, 3 Emp. Coord. Compensation § 17:57