2021 Federal and State Minimum Wage Rates

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The minimum wage rate is the lowest hourly pay that can be awarded to workers, also known as a pay floor. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determines the minimum wage for employees in private and public sectors, in both Federal and State governments. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees must be paid the minimum wage or higher.

Federal Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage in 2021 is $7.25 per hour and has not increased since July 2009. However, some states, cities, and counties have a higher minimum wage rate.

When the state, city, or county minimum wage rate is higher than the federal rate, employers are required to pay workers the higher amount.

Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Workers

Effective January 1, 2021, the Executive Order 13658 minimum wage rate, which generally must be paid to workers performing work on or in connection with covered federal contracts, is $10.95 per hour.

Additionally, effective January 1, 2021, tipped employees performing work on or in connection with covered federal contracts generally must be paid a minimum cash wage of $7.65 per hour.

Effective January 30, 2022, federal agencies will need to incorporate a $15 minimum wage in new contract solicitations, and by March 30, 2022, all agencies will need to implement the minimum wage into new contracts. After 2022, the federal contractor minimum wage will be indexed to inflation.

The minimum wage for tipped contractors will gradually increase until it reaches the minimum wage for all federal contractors in January 2024.

Exemptions From Minimum Wage

Some employees are exempt from federal minimum wage requirements, such as those who are not protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Tipped employees such as restaurant servers, for example, can be paid at a lower rate than minimum wage.

State Minimum Wage Rates

Some states set a minimum wage rate that is higher than the federal minimum. As of April 2021, 29 states and D.C. have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C., and West Virginia. 

Key Takeaways

  • Many states have minimum wage rates higher than the federal minimum.
  • Some city/county/state government employers and companies have higher minimum wage rates than the state minimum.
  • In some states, a separate minimum wage has been set for small employers, and there may be other exceptions to the standard rate.
  • Many companies have set a minimum wage for their employees that is higher than the federal rate.

Minimum Wage Rates for 2021 Listed by State

The minimum wage across the country varies from the federally mandated minimum of $7.25 per hour in many states to as high as $14.00 per hour in California for employers with over 26 employees.

To get the minimum wage for your state: select from the drop-down menu or click on the map on the U.S. Department of Labor's State Minimum Wage Law page.

Cities and Counties With Higher Minimum Wages

There are 48 localities that have adopted minimum wages above their state minimum wage, including cities and counties in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

Minimum wage rates may change during the calendar year. Check with your state department of labor for rates and wages specific to your location.