minimum wage


Definition of minimum wage

2 : the lowest wage paid or permitted to be paid specifically : a wage fixed by legal authority or by contract as the least that may be paid either to employed persons generally or to a particular category of employed persons

Examples of minimum wage in a Sentence

Congress will vote on a bill to raise the minimum wage.
Recent Examples on the Web Many tipped and gig workers were paid low wages (the federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13 per hour) before the pandemic. Los Angeles Times, "Where to donate to help restaurant industry workers affected by the pandemic," 10 Apr. 2020 Indiana is one of 15 states that allows restaurants to pay their employees the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13. Taylor Mooney, CBS News, "The disturbing history of tipping in the U.S.: "It's literally a slave wage"," 30 Mar. 2020 The federal minimum wage for tipped food service workers is $2.13, and there are more than 200,000 restaurant and food service workers in Kentucky and more than 311,000 in Indiana, according to the National Restaurant Association. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "Southern Indiana restaurants offering takeout during coronavirus pandemic," 27 Mar. 2020 In 1990, the federal minimum wage was $3.80 per hour. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "The link between minimum wage and suicide shows inequality is a public health issue," 18 Jan. 2020 Next, the debtor must have enough after-tax income to clear the law’s earnings exemption, which protects $217.50 per week of a debtor’s after-tax income – the equivalent of 30 hours at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Wendi C. Thomas, ProPublica, "The Nonprofit Hospital That Makes Millions, Owns a Collection Agency and Relentlessly Sues the Poor," 27 June 2019 Relaxing the $15/hour minimum wage the country is moving towards and creating a negative income tax or a negative wage tax could be effective ways of doing this, Brooks said. Nihal Krishan, Washington Examiner, "Arthur Brooks: The government can't make you happy," 30 Apr. 2020 An association that represents security firms has told its members that the supermarket guards are entitled only to the German minimum wage of €9.35 an hour, rather than the wage negotiated with unions, according to Ver.di. New York Times, "Europe’s Strong Labor Laws Aren’t a Guarantee for Lower-Wage Workers," 29 Apr. 2020 Opinion: An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that Missoula, Mont., and San Marcos, Texas, have adopted a minimum wage of $15 an hour. USA TODAY, "Corrections & Clarifications 2017," 27 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'minimum wage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of minimum wage

1860, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of minimum wage was in 1860

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Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Minimum wage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for minimum wage

minimum wage


Financial Definition of minimum wage

What It Is

Minimum wage is the lowest hourly amount an employer may legally pay an employee.

How It Works

If an employer compensates employees on an hourly basis, that employer must pay the employee no less than the minimum wage. In the United States, the minimum wage is set by the federal government. The government periodically modifies the minimum wage to reflect rises in the general price level and cost of living.

Why It Matters

In the labor market, wages rise and fall depending on the supply and demand for labor. Though it restricts economic efficiency, the argument in support of minimum wage laws is that it curbs employers' attempts to exploit workers and ensures that employees are compensated at a livable rate.

Source: Investing Answers

minimum wage


English Language Learners Definition of minimum wage

: an amount of money that is the least amount of money per hour that workers must be paid according to the law

minimum wage


Legal Definition of minimum wage

: a wage fixed by contract or especially by law as the least that may be paid either to employees generally or to a particular category of employees — compare scale

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Britannica English: Translation of minimum wage for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about minimum wage

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