The federal government periodically sets a federal minimum wage rate. Several, but not all, states also have minimum wage laws and the state rates correlate variously with the federal rate.
Federal Minimum Wage
According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour for hourly (nonexempt) employees went into effect on July 24, 2009.
As of January 2010, 45 states also have a minimum rate. States with minimum wage rates can have rates higher, lower, or the same as the federal rate.
States with Equal Rate
States with minimum wage rates equal to the federal rate represent the largest number of states with a state minimum rate.
States with Higher Rates
States with higher rates represents the next largest number of states with their own minimum wage rates.
States with Lower Rates
Only seven states with state minimum wage rates have state rates lower than the federal minimum wage.
Federal vs. State
Where both a state and a federal minimum wage law apply and the rates differ, the employee is subject to the higher of the two rates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
A writer/editor since 1984, Christine Lebednik has spent much of her career in business and technical writing, and editing. Her consumer print and online articles include product descriptions for TDMonthly Online, book reviews for Catholic News Service, consumer reports for Consumer Search and works for various other publications. Lebednik received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Salem State College.