Georgia Minimum Wage Increases: Everything You Need to Know
We know small business owners in Georgia are eager to stay on top of minimum wage increases. So we’ve put together this quick guide with all the info you need to know.
What is the minimum wage in Georgia?
While Georgia’s state law sets the minimum wage rate at $5.15 per hour, the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act applies, meaning that most employees must earn a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Exemptions from the federal hourly minimum wage rate include:
Tipped employees, for whom the minimum wage is $2.13 per hour (employers may utilize a maximum tip credit of $5.12 per hour)
Employees under the age of 20, who may be paid a training wage of $4.25 per hour during the first 90 days of employment
Full-time students, who may be paid no less than 85 percent of Georgia’s minimum wage ($6.16) for up to 20 hours of work per week when school is in session.
Keep in mind that counties, cities, and towns may have their own minimum wage laws. Be sure to check what local wage laws may apply to you.
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Are there plans to change the minimum wage?
There is no indication the Georgia legislature is planning to increase the minimum wage, so it appears that the state’s minimum wage rate will remain at the federal level.
How should small business owners prepare for possible changes to the minimum wage?
Even if changes to the minimum wage aren’t on the horizon, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare in case they ever are. Every business is different, so there isn’t one right way to do this. Here are a few options you may want to consider:
- Audit your expenses: Check your cash flow in detail and create a hiring plan you can afford. In some cases, you may find that hiring temporary workers as needed is less expensive than taking on full-time regular staff.
- Make sure you hire and keep the right employees: Replacing an employee can cost a lot. You can decrease the total cost associated with recruiting and training when you hire (and then retain) the right people. Look for candidates with good track records, who come recommended, and who fit in with the company culture. Once the employee is onboarded, make sure you build a relationship and provide paths for employee growth; it makes it more likely that they will stay in their role.
- Update tech: Consider automating certain aspects of the work (like payroll), and find ways to reduce production costs.
As always, to make sure your business is prepared and stays in compliance with applicable wage laws, you should discuss Georgia’s minimum wage laws with your accountant and lawyer.