If your school participates in the Federal Work Study (FWS) program, make sure you keep an eye on a continuing national trend to increase minimum wage. This is a popular issue and varies from state to state. Increases in your state’s minimum wage impacts what you are required to pay your FWS students. The pay must meet the requirements of the state or local law. This means that when the state or local law requires a higher minimum wage, the school must pay the FWS student that higher wage. However, if the state or local law allows a wage that is less than the federal minimum wage, the FWS student must be paid at least the federal minimum wage.
The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009 and the implications for the 2016 presidential election are still unclear. A bill, backed by President Obama to raise the federal hourly minimum from $7.25 to $10.10 by late 2016 is currently stalled in Congress. However, many states currently have higher minimum wages than the federal government. In recent elections, four states – Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — passed measures to increase their minimum wage rates.
Minimum wage can also vary by city. For example, San Francisco, which currently has a minimum wage of $10.74, passed an incremental wage increase on November 4, 2014 that will reach $15 an hour by 2018. The city joins Seattle, which in June passed a $15 an hour wage, as the municipalities with the highest minimum wages. Oakland will increase its minimum wage from $9 to $12 in 2015.
Do you know what the current minimum wage is in your state and/or city? You can find current state minimum wages at http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm. But don’t stop there! Go to your state’s Department of Labor website and search “minimum wage” for the latest information on possible increases in your local area. You can also just google the name of your city, minimum wage. And finally, be sure to monitor state and local developments to ensure that you stay in compliance.