The Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25 and Georgia’s is $5.15, So Which One Applies to My Job?

In almost all areas of the law, there’s a certain interplay between federal law and state law because, when it comes to a lot of subject areas, both have laws addressing and governing that topic. Here in Georgia, that’s true about a lot of employment law-related issues, including everything from age discrimination to the minimum wage to overtime pay. The key in any situation is to know whether federal law or state law applies to your circumstance. Doing this often requires in-depth knowledge of the law, which is why it pays to have an experienced Atlanta minimum wage attorney handling your case.

The hashtag #todayilearned (or TIL for short,) which loosely equates to the more well-worn “Did you know?”, is a common meme on social media. There’s even an entire subreddit (a/k/a subgroup) on the popular internet community Reddit devoted to people sharing things they newly learned.

What does that have to do with Georgia employment law? Perhaps not much, but there is this: a few years ago, members of the Reddit community discussed the fact that Georgia state law sets the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour, beneath the federal law minimum wage of $7.25. That amount remains the Georgia minimum wage today. (Georgia and Wyoming have the lowest state minimum wages, and Georgia’s is not set to go up in 2022.)

At this point, perhaps you’re wondering, “why don’t more employers pay more people in this state the $5.15 wage?”

The answer lies in that interplay between state and federal law, as well as some standards and definitions that are written into federal law. First, let’s start with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA sets the federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. The FLSA says that its standards and obligations, including its minimum wage requirement, apply to many types of businesses and workers.

When it comes to covered businesses (or what the law calls “enterprise coverage”), there are several categories the law touches. They include hospitals, schools, preschools, government agencies, nursing homes and other businesses that provide care for residents, and any other business that does at least $500,000 annually. Businesses with less than two employees are exempt, however, from this coverage.

Other workers are covered by the nature of their work, or what the law calls “individual coverage.” If your work regularly involves “interstate commerce,” then you are covered by the FLSA and entitled to an hourly wage of at least $7.25.

The Breadth of ‘Interstate Commerce’ 

Courts at all levels have been addressing what is, and what is not, interstate commerce for decades and, generally, the courts have come down on the side of a very broad definition. For example, if your employer merely sends and receives letters or packages to/from other states regularly, then your employer may be engaged in interstate commerce. If you make or receive phone calls to/from other states, that can be interstate commerce, potentially even if those interstate calls number only a few per week.

As you case, see, that “interstate commerce” net reaches a wide array of workers and businesses and, if it reaches you or your employer, then you are entitled to receive a minimum of $7.25 per hour as stated in the federal law.

Minimum wage cases are, like most areas of litigation, things that can involve intricate and minute details of the law. That’s why you need a knowledgeable legal representative that can get you everything to which the law says you’re entitled. Count on the Atlanta minimum wage attorneys at Parks, Chesin & Walbert to be there for you and be the powerful advocate you need. You can schedule an appointment by contacting us through this website or by calling 404-873-8048. Our phone lines are answered 24/7.

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