The Rhode Island Minimum Wage

As an employer it is critical to abide by minimum wage regulations. Minimum wage regulations were created by President Franklin Roosevelt as part of the New Deal. Specifically, minimum wage stem from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The FLSA is a federal law, but most states have additional requirements that HR managers and employers must be in compliance with.

Federal Law: The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Rhode Island: On January 1, 2013, the Rhode Island minimum wage will increase from $7.40 to $7.75.

Tipped Employees: The minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.89. In order to qualify, the amount of tips must bring the hourly wage at least up to the minimum wage.

Other Issues:

  • Deductions: The FLSA allows employers to withhold money from a worker’s paycheck to satisfy a debt as long as it does not cause the employee’s earnings to fall below the minimum wage.
  • Breaks: The FLSA does not require an employer to provide break time. However, in Rhode Island, employers with five or more employees are required to give an employee 20 minutes of break time after six hours of work or 30 minutes of break time after eight hours of work. Employers do not have to pay employees for their break time as long as the employee is completely relieved of work duties.

Exceptions: Some employees do not have to be paid pursuant to minimum wage laws.

  • White Collar and Administrative Workers: There are two tests to determine if a worker can be properly classified as a white collar or administrative worker.
    1. An employee must earn at least $455 a week and be paid on a salary basis.
    2. An employee’s primary duty must be to perform non-manual work. The work must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment regarding matters of significance.

New Minimum Wages In Effect for 2016

As of January 1, 2016, the minimum wage is $9.60 per hour in Rhode Island and $10.00 per hour in Massachusetts.  Contact Muller Law with any questions you have regarding the impact these increases have on you or your business.