Introduction to Minimum Wage for Kids and Teens
This video explains the concept of minimum wage in a simple, concise way for kids and beginners. It could be used by kids & teens to learn about minimum wage, or used as a money & personal finance resource by parents and teachers as part of a Financial Literacy course or K-12 curriculum.
Suitable for students from grade levels:
- Elementary School
- Middle School
- High School
The topics covered are:
- What is minimum wage
- Who decides minimum wage
- Working for less than minimum wage
- Change in minimum wage change over time
What is minimum wage?
Minimum wage is the minimum hourly wage an employer can pay an employee.
This number is determined by the government, and it is illegal for employers to pay their non-exempt workers anything below the minimum wage. This is very important, because it makes sure that employees do not fall into poverty.
As of April 2021, the federal minimum wage in the US was $7.25 an hour.
Who decides minimum wage?
The federal government decides the minimum wage, but state or local governments can choose a different minimum wage as long as it is higher than the federal minimum wage.
For example, in April 2021, San Francisco’s minimum wage was $15.59 per hour – which is more than double the federal minimum wage. This is because the cost of living is higher in San Francisco than the national average.
Can some people legally work for less than minimum wage?
Yes, some people, called exempt employees, don’t qualify for minimum wage.
For example, waiters and waitresses aren’t guaranteed a minimum wage because in addition to payment from their employer, they also earn money from tips.
Students, people under 20, and people with disabilities can also be paid below minimum wage.
Does minimum wage change, or does it stay the same?
Minimum wage is increased from time to time, in line with inflation and the resulting increase in the cost of living.
For example, the US federal minimum wage in 1975 was $2.10. But as of April 2021, it was $7.25.