The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour for most workers, however some states have set their minimum wage laws at higher amounts. The federal limits make some exceptions to this rule, such as for workers who regularly earn tips, or are under 18. Employees who earn tips are entitled to have the employer make up the difference if their wages and tips do not add up the the minimum wage for the amount of time worked.

In addition to the minimum wage, federal law requires that many types of workers be paid time and a half for every hour over 40 they work in a week. This requirement cannot be waived, and must be paid in wages, not added vacation time or other benefits. However, many types of workers are exempt from this requirement. Generally, any employee who earns less than $23,000 per year is entitled to overtime wage rates. On the other hand, salaried employees who make more than that amount, or certain types of executives and creative professionals are not entitled to overtime wages.