What Is the Minimum Wage in Georgia State?

Katie McBeth  | 

Georgia has not seen a minimum wage increase since the federal minimum wage was increased in 2009. The minimum wage in George was $5.15 an hour, as set by state law, which means the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is applied across the state with some minor exemptions.

What exemptions exist for employees in Georgia, and is there any news of a potential minimum wage increase in the future?

2019 Minimum Wage in Georgia: $7.25 per hour

As mentioned, the minimum wage in Georgia was set at $5.15 an hour, as determined by local law, until the federal minimum wage was increased and applied to all states across the nation. Now, the minimum wage in Georgia is that of the federal minimum wage — $7.25 an hour — according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

However, there are some exemptions to this federal standard, as is also defined by the FLSA. Exemptions may include:

  • Employees earning tips (see below for more);
  • Employees under the age of 20 years old. Employers are allowed, by federal law, to pay a new employee under the age of 20 a training wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment. After that training period is complete, employers are required to pay the full $7.25 minimum;
  • Employees that are full-time students in high school or college. Typically applied to work-study programs in university, employers are allowed to pay employees enrolled in a full-time school program as little as 85 percent of the minimum wage. This amounts to about $6.16 an hour, and employees must not work more than 20 hours per week;
  • Employees that earn a salary wage of at least $455 per week. Anything below $455 per week, and the employer may be in violation of the FLSA.

Tipped: $2.13 per hour

As is the case in many other states across the country, Georgia has a separate wage requirement for employees that earn tips. According to the Department Of Labor (DOL), Georgia does not have a specific state law that applies to tipped employees, so the federal standard applies to the state, instead. The federal requirement for tipped employees is $2.13 an hour, with a maximum “tip credit” of $5.12 an hour.

The laws pertaining to tipped employees can be confusing, but, in all, employees should be making a total of at least $7.25 an hour. This is calculated based on the average amount of tips that an employee earns in a workday. The tips they earn allow their employee to pay them less — as little as $2.13 per hour — while the tips (known as “Tip Credit”) make up the remaining amount of wages. Employers are not allowed to pay less than $2.13, or to take additional “tip credits,” even if the employee earns a significant amount of tips in a day or is working overtime hours.

Weekly: $290 per week

Employees working a full-time job of about 40 hours per week should be making about $290 every week, based on the minimum wage. This equates to about $58 per 8 hour workdays.

Again, the FLSA Guidelines require salaried employees to make at least $455 per week in order for employers to stay compliant with the law.

Annually: $15,080 per year

Minimum wage employees working a full-time job of 40 hours a week should make about $15,080 for a full year (before taxes).

As mentioned earlier, the federal minimum wage has not changed since 2009. The minimum wage is often adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The most recent Poverty Guidelines state that the poverty line for a two-person household is $16,910, whereas for a single person, the line is at $12,490. Hopefully, the federal minimum wage will increase soon to match these guidelines and to help elevate families out of poverty.

Overtime: $10.88

The FLSA and Georgia law require employers to pay overtime pay for any amount of work that exceeds a traditional 40-hour workweek. Overtime pay is calculated at time and a half, or about $10.88 per additional hour over 40 hours.

There are some exemptions to this law, which mostly include salaried employees or sales employees that earn commissions. Additionally, overtime pay is not required for holidays worked, unless working that holiday means the employee works more than 40 hours in a single week. A full list of overtime exemptions can be found on the Federal DOL website.

Georgia Minimum Wage Increase News

At the beginning of 2019, a total of 21 states experienced a minimum wage increase. Unfortunately, state lawmakers in Georgia appear to have no plans to create their own minimum wage increase for the state.

The past three changes to the state’s minimum wage occurred when the FLSA increased the federal minimum to $5.85 in 2007, $6.55 in 2008, and finally $7.25 in 2009. There are also no cities in the state of Georgia that offer a higher minimum wage.

Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/

Katie McBeth is a researcher and writer out of Boise, ID, with experience in marketing for small businesses and management. Her favorite subject of study is millennials, and she has been featured on Fortune Magazine and the Quiet Revolution. She researches SEO strategies during the day, and freelances at night. You can follow her writing adventures on Instagram or Twitter: @ktmcbeth

This post was updated July 16, 2019. It was originally published July 16, 2019.