Mission: To promote and achieve compliance with labor standards and protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce.
Background: The Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor was created by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 and is responsible for the administration and enforcement of a range of laws collectively covering virtually all private, state, and local government employment. These include the enforcement of the federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act; enforcement of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act; wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act; and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration-related statutes. The division itself employs a nationwide staff of investigators, supervisors, and technical and clerical employees.
Outstanding Web Features: Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal minimum wage as of July 24, 2009, is $7.25, although many states have passed their own laws mandating a higher minimum wage. In addition, some state laws provide for greater employee protections; employers must comply with both federal and state laws. Visitors to the Wage and Hour Division's State Minimum Wage Laws tool can highlight different minimum wage categories and click on any state to learn about the applicable laws in that state. (Searching by individual state is also an option.) The site's interactive map has a hover feature that provides a quick snapshot of the minimum wage rate in each state, and visitors can drill down to additional state-level data, including information about increases in the minimum wage, recent adjustments in the wage, and other details. The color-coded map also shows states with a higher minimum wage than is mandated by federal law, those without a state minimum wage law, and special situations. For information about the history of the minimum wage in the U.S., check out the historical minimum wage rate table, which shows changes in the minimum wage by state from 1968 to 1981.