Vote: Is It Fair for Teens to Be Paid Less Than Minimum Wage?

By Tonka Dobreva 10.04.2016 interact


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that businesses pay their workers the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. For employees under the age of 20, however, there’s a a special minimum wage requirement — $4.25 per hour during their 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer, and the standard minimum wage of $7.25 thereafter.

Increasing the federal minimum wage has been a hot topic during the 2016 presidential election, and some states have already taken action to pay workers more — 30 U.S. states pay higher than the federal minimum wage, and states like California and New York have passed bills to increase it to $15 an hour.

Teen workers don’t always get to benefit from state-level pay increases — for example, in one Iowa county where legislators plan to increase the minimum wage to $10.75 by 2019, businesses that employ teen workers under the age of 17 can pay these workers only 85 percent of the local minimum wage. In Minnesota, the minimum wage is set at $9.50 for most employees, but teens under the age of 18 are paid $7.75.

Some people say that paying teens less than the local minimum wage is discrimination, while others say that teens should be paid less because of limits on teen work permits and the fact that most teens aren’t primary breadwinners in their households.

We want to know what you think — is it fair for teens to be paid less than the minimum wage? Vote and tell us what you think in the comments section below. We will feature the results of the poll and some of your comments on the show.


  1. Liz

    I think it is far because teens often dont have a family to feed, or important bills to pay. Adults who work at these jobs usually have kids and are working through school and trying to better themselves, so they need the money more than some teenager that needs to buy lipgloss or a video game

    • Noel

      But what about those kids who do have their won kids, and who do live on their own, and who need to pay for bills and stuff? What are they supposed to do?

  2. Sterling

    It is unfair for Teens to be paid less than the minimum wage, because even though they are younger and usually work slightly more menial jobs than those with careers, they do have their own bills to pay. The laws are there for a reason, so they should be enforced in every situation.

  3. Luke

    No, if they are old enough to work, their old enough to get minimum wage.

  4. Lindsey

    No. Although I think it has to do with one’s performance if they stay at the minimum wage. But I think we should all be paid equally!

  5. Ella

    No, it is not fair for teens to be paid less than adults if they do the same amount of work in the same amount of time.

  6. Mackenzie

    No because teens work as hard ask grownups do.

    • Lizzy

      No because teens work and do as much as adults.teens Can do more than adults also because they are a bit younger than adults.☺

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