Overview: Under minimum wage laws, employers may sometimes pay certain workers - including individuals whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, full-time students, apprentices, messengers and student-learners - wages even lower than the minimum wage, known as subminimum wages.
The federal government and most state governments require employers to obtain special certification before hiring workers at subminimum wages.
The main goal of subminimum wages is to provide employment opportunities to workers who might not otherwise find work.
Trends: The National Council on Disability, a small but influential advisory agency that is credited with playing a major role in the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, has recommended that subminimum wages for individuals with disabilities under the Fair Labor Standards Act be phased out over a six-year period.
If the federal government follows this recommendation, many if not all states can be expected to follow in its footsteps.
Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect the passage of amendments to Berkeley's minimum wage ordinance, effective August 31, 2016.
Updated to reflect a minimum wage increase in Chicago, effective July 1, 2016.
Updated to reflect the establishment of the state's three-region minimum wage, effective July 1, 2016.
Updated to reflect an increase in the minimum wage for Johnson County, Iowa, effective May 1, 2016.
Updated to reflect forthcoming minimum wage requirements, which will raise the state minimum wage to $15 over the next six years.
Updated to reflect that Nevada's minimum wage will remain unchanged for 2016.
HR guidance on paying subminimum wages to full-time students, apprentices, messengers, student-learners and individuals whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability.