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

In 2017, California adopted a minimum wage phase-in requirement for all employees across the state depending on the size of the employer. Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, "Workers in this Peninsula city will finally receive a higher minimum wage," 13 Sep. 2019 In recent years, state appellate courts have allowed employees to use the PAGA law to sue employers for failing to pay minimum wages or overtime and recoup their entire wage loss, plus a 25% share of the penalties specified in the wage law. Bob Egelko,, "Employees lose avenue to sue for what they believe were unpaid wages," 12 Sep. 2019 Independent contractors are notoriously excluded from federal and state labor laws, including minimum wage laws, anti-discrimination measures, worker’s compensation, and benefits. Isabel Cristo, The New Republic, "Fashion Week’s Labor Problem Is Our Labor Problem," 11 Sep. 2019 Opponents of minimum wage hikes have long argued that an increase would result in job losses. Matt Darling, Quartz at Work, "Ready to destroy a longstanding argument against raising the minimum wage?," 28 Aug. 2019 Sara Albert, policy director for the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions, said minimum wage employees and those who own cars to get to their jobs will struggle to become self-sufficient. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Tens of thousands of Dallas County residents at risk of losing SNAP benefits, policy experts say," 22 Aug. 2019 On Tuesday, the city of St. Paul launched a public review and comment period for minimum wage rules and resources provided by the Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity. Zekriah Chaudhry, Twin Cities, "St. Paul to take public comments on minimum wage business guide," 20 Aug. 2019 McDonald’s executives recently announced that the company would no longer lobby against minimum wage increases. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "The $15 minimum wage bill has all but died in the Senate," 16 Aug. 2019 Billboard confirms Swift sent the student $6,386.47 CAD which converts to about $4,800 USD after Khurram admitted on Tumblr that her parents, who both worked minimum wage jobs, couldn't afford her college expenses. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Taylor Swift Sends Fan Nearly $5,000 to Help Pay Her College Tuition," 14 Aug. 2019

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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Last Updated

22 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for minimum wage

The first known use of minimum wage was in 1860

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on minimum wage

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with minimum wage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for minimum wage

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

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