Can I really pay a youth employee under 20 years old $4.25/hour for 90 days when they start with my company?


Some employers may be singing their praises while others may be slapping their foreheads because they never knew this law existed. Good news, this is perfectly legal according to Fact Sheet #32: Young Minimum Wage-FLSA (https://www.dol.gov/WHD/regs/compliance/whdfs32.pdf.) . It’s been out for quite some time, but check out the fact sheet link above in case you want to see the verbiage.

An employer can bring in an employee under the age of 20 to work for them and compensate them $4.25 per hour for each hour of work for a maximum of 90 calendar days. The stipulation does not allow the 90 day period to last for working days but calendar days and the clock starts on the first day of work. This can possibly be viewed as both a positive and a negative. Recruiting and filling this role would be very difficult in my opinion because I don’t know many young adults who will want to work for this wage unless they were guaranteed a very large amount of working hours. On the flip side, this could be a positive for the employer because they will be saving money on the front end.

So if you’re an employer in the United States and wish to exercise this right, you may do so freely for all new employees under the age of 20. Please also keep in mind you must pay time and one half for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek (7 consecutive 24 hour days). The overtime rate will be $6.375 for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Keep in mind if the employee turns 20 during the 90 day period,  you must start paying them the applicable minimum wage rate of your state the day they turn 20. Also, if an employee works partial of the 90 day period and quits, you cannot pick up where you left off when you rehire the employee. The period stops 90 calendar days after the employees first day of work.

I am curious though, how many of the employers will actually exercise this right? Do you think your company will be appealing to youth employees under the age of 20 if you pay them this rate for 90 days? If you use this method, what are you going to do to appeal to applicants?

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