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While Georgia's minimum wage remained the same amount as in 2014 -- $5.15 per hour -- it may not have much effect on most employees. Employees that are covered under the federal Fair Labor and Standards Act will be covered by the federal minimum wage instead, which is currently $7.25 per hour. The reason most Georgia employers must pay the federal minimum wage instead of the state minimum wage is because when an employee is covered under both the state's minimum wage laws and the FLSA, the higher of the two applies. Therefore, the Georgia minimum wage is obsolete.
There are certain employers and employees who are excluded from both the federal or state minimum wage regulations. These include:
Overtime laws and regulations are in place to ensure that employers do not take advantage of their workers. Georgia employees are subject to the same overtime regulations as provided under the FLSA. Employees who work more than 40 hours in a week should be paid one and a half times their wages for their overtime hours. If an employer is not compensating their employee in this way, the employee should review the FLSA regulations to see if they fall under an exemption. If they do not, they may want to seek a labor and wage attorney to ensure they are fairly compensated.
Jobs that may be exempt are salaried employees, such as administrative, professional, excecutive and skilled computer workers. Outside sales jobs where the employee receives commission may also be exempt. These jobs are not based on job title, but on specific criteria of duties and salary or commission earned.
Georgia has specific laws in place regarding the employment of youth under the age of 16. There are no restrictions for those 16 or older, either federal or state, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. However, for those under 16, when school is in session, the employee can work no more than four hours a day. On non-school days, they can work a full eight-hour day, and when school is not in session, such as spring break or summer vacation, they can work 40 hours a week.
The federal regulations differ a bit from the Georgia regulations when it comes to youth under the age of 16. Instead of four hours on a school day, the regulations are only three hours a day, and only up to 18 hours a week during the school session.
There are also time restrictions under both Georgia and the FLSA laws for minors 14 and 15 years old who are employed. Per Georgia law, the minor cannot work before 6 a.m. or after 9 p.m.; per the FLSA, they cannot work before 7 a.m or after 7 p.m. during the school year, and until 9 p.m. during summer vacation (June 1 through Labor Day).
No work is allowed during regular school hours for any minor under 16 years old; however, per Georgia law, this law does not apply if the minor has completed senior high school or has been excused from school attendance by the State Board of Education. FLSA law still applies, even if the child is home schooled, married or has quit school.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified wage and hour lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local wage and hour attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.