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Can younger workers earn less than minimum wage?

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2021 | Wage & Hour Litigation

Did you know that not all workers earn the same minimum wage? If you’re a worker who falls under a certain category, then there is a chance that you could be paid less than the standard minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in Pennsylvania.

While Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is the same as the Federal minimum wage, that doesn’t apply to every worker. For instance, tipped employees may earn less per hour due to receiving tips. Other groups that may earn less than the state minimum wage include student workers and certain exempt occupations like farmworkers.

Special certificates affect minimum wage for students

Pennsylvania allows certain employers to pay students as little as 85% of the minimum wage. For example, if you work at your school while completing a work-study program, you may be paid less as long as you work 20 hours or fewer per week. That being said, once you break the 20-hour rule, you may be entitled to greater compensation.

Should your employer inform you of the lower wage?

Yes, you should always be aware of the wage that you’re going to be paid, so that you can decide if you want to accept it. While some employers may offer less than minimum wage for your time because you are young or a student, that doesn’t mean that all of them can or do.

Which jobs don’t have to pay minimum wage?

Some of the jobs that may not pay minimum wage include:

  • Golf caddying
  • Paper delivery
  • Farm and domestic workers
  • Seasonal camp workers

Employers are also allowed to deduct room and board from their employees if it is provided to them.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage rules may not seem fair to you, and it is a reality that some employers take advantage of these laws.

If you believe that you should have been paid more than you received, it’s appropriate to talk to a lawyer about your options. Our lawyers can advise you about whether to bring legal claims in order to get the pay that you’ve earned.