Lesson Introduction

Youth Minimum Wage Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes federal minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. Texas adopts the federal minimum wage rate by reference.

The FLSA requires payment of the federal minimum wage to all covered and nonexempt employees. However, WBL students may sometimes receive a reduced wage for the following reasons:

  • If student employees are under the age of 20, they may be paid the youth minimum wage, which is established by the FLSA. The youth minimum wage is less than the federal minimum wage, and employers may only pay this lower wage during the employee’s first 90 consecutive calendar days, as long as their work does not displace other workers. (After 90 days, or when the employee turns 20—whichever is sooner, the FLSA requires employers to pay the full federal minimum wage.)
  • If student employees are enrolled in a career and technical education program such as WBL, employers may obtain Department of Labor (DOL) certificates that allow them to pay students less than the minimum wage to students enrolled in the programs.

Let's look at an example.

Federal and State Wage Considerations for Tipped Employees

It is common for young people to be employed in jobs where they receive tips as part of their wages.

In Texas, the definition of a tipped employee is someone who
customarily and regularly receives more than $20 per month in tips.


By law

  • tips are the property of the employee who receives them;
  • an employer can only use an employee’s tips as a credit against a minimum wage obligation to the employee or to create a valid tip pool; and
  • only tips the employee actually receives may be used to determine if the employee is a tipped employee.


Take a moment to bookmark the following fact sheets for later reference:

Lesson Review

Lesson Conclusion