What Is the Minimum Wage in Wisconsin?

Ben Steele
A skyline photograph of Madison, Wisconsin at dusk, with snow and twinkling lights.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

2020 Minimum Wage in Wisconsin: $7.25 Per Hour

The minimum wage for Wisconsin is the same as federal minimum wage rates, though the state defines some specific rules that are slightly different than federal standards for minimum wage. The state appears to follow federal rules for exemptions and qualifications for minimum wage employees, which is common among states that use the federal minimum wage.

Tipped: $2.33 Per Hour

According to the Wisconsin department of workforce development, referenced above, the minimum cash wage for tipped employees is slightly higher than federal standards. Unlike the regular minimum wage, Wisconsin sets its own rules for employers of tipped workers.

The maximum tip credit that an employer may apply to a tipped worker’s wage is $4.92. This means that $4.92 is the maximum amount that can be deducted from their earnings based on tips. A minimum wage worker must still make the minimum wage of $7.25 after tips, which means employers are responsible for $2.33 per hour, and for ensuring that employees reach minimum wage if their tips are insufficient.

Subminimum Wage: $5.90 Per Hour or $2.13 Per Hour Tipped

In addition to federal standards regarding subminimum wages, Wisconsin allows for an “opportunity wage” for employees under 20 years of age for the first 90 days of employment. For a regular employee, that number is below the federal minimum wage. For tipped employees, it brings their cash wages down to federal minimums.

Note that opportunity wage employees must be paid state minimum wages either after 90 days, or when they turn 20, whichever comes first.

Weekly: $290

Employees who earn the minimum wage in Wisconsin will make $290 if they work full-time in a standard 40-hour workweek. This only applies to full-time employees —  part-time employees would earn less. This number is gross pay before deductions and taxes, which means that an employee’s net take-home would likely be lower.

One particular instance where Wisconsin differs from other states is in mandating minimum wage rates for camp counselors, depending on the circumstances of their employment—namely, whether they receive board and lodging at their camp.

The following table is copied from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development website:

Camp Counselors
No Board or Lodging – Adult: $350/week

– Minor: $350/week

Board Only – Adult: $265/week

– Minor: $265/week

With Board and Lodging – Adult: $210/week

– Minor: $210/week

Annually: $15,080

Employees who earn the minimum wage in Wisconsin will make $15,080 if they work 40 hours per week for an entire year. This number will vary depending on time off, sick days taken, overtime hours worked, and other factors throughout a work year. As with the weekly wage, this is gross income before taxes and employer deductions, and does not represent the net take-home pay an employee will receive.

Overtime: $10.88 Per Hour

Employees who work overtime in Wisconsin at the minimum wage rate will earn $10.88 per hour. Much like federal standards and the overtime rules of other states, Wisconsin applies a standard overtime rate of time-and-a-half for every hour worked above 40 in a standard workweek. The restrictions that come with overtime are fairly common; applied based on hours worked in a week, rather than by day.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development website notes a series of specific types of employees exempt from overtime rules, such as agricultural and domestic service employees.

Wisconsin Minimum Wage Increase News

In February of 2019 the Democratic Governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, proposed a budget that would include a higher minimum wage, first raising it by $0.75 per year for two years, and then annually at the rate of inflation. This proposition was unsuccessful.

As of February 2020, Wisconsin lawmakers are once again making a push to raise the minimum wage. Like many such propositions throughout the country, this initiative seeks to gradually raise Wisconsin’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

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