Article posted Thursday, August 8, 2013 9:33pm

Employees of fast food restaurants in cities around the country protested last week for higher wages. They are asking employers to pay them $15 per hour. The current federal and Wisconsin minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

The U.S. Department of Labor has some exemptions to the federal minimum wage law, including:

• Tipped employees who regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips

• Vocational education students

• Full-time students in retail or service establishments, agriculture or institutions of higher education

• Individuals whose production capacities are impaired by disabilities, including age and injury

Washington, D.C., recently passed a “living wage” ordinance that requires large retailers to pay their employees a 50 percent premium above the city’s minimum wage.

3.55 million

Workers at or below the federal minimum wage.


States that have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage


Percent of workers at or below minimum wage who are part-time employees.


Percent of workers at or below minimum wage who are in the food preparation and service industry.

2 million

The approximate number of employees earning less than minimum wage.


More cents per day the average American household would have to spend on food if the federal minimum wage increased to $9.80 per hour.

Source: Pew Research Center, A Dime A Day: The Impact of the Miller/Harkin Minimum Wage Proposal on the Price of Food, U.S. Department of Labor