Understanding the Wisconsin Minimum Wage

Understanding the Wisconsin Minimum Wage
A comprehensive guide to minimum wage in Wisconsin, including annual increases, helpful resources, and updated information for 2024.
by Meredith Galante Nov 20, 2023 — 3 min read
Understanding the Wisconsin Minimum Wage

It may seem as if every year the minimum wage is changing. As a small business owner in Wisconsin, this may leave you wondering what you’re supposed to pay your employees.

To help clear up any confusion, we’ve put together this quick guide to help you understand the Wisconsin minimum wage.

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What is the minimum wage in Wisconsin?

The minimum wage rate in Wisconsin matches the federal minimum wage which is currently $7.25 per hour. This has been the minimum wage since 2008, when it increased from $6.50.

Tipped employees and opportunity employees qualify for a special minimum wage. Tipped employees can earn $2.33 per hour and opportunity employees can earn $5.90 per hour. Opportunity employees are workers under 20 years old who have worked for less than 90 days with their current employer. Given Wisconsin’s large farming contingent and outdoor activities, there are a few other special minimum wage rules.

Keep in mind that counties, cities, and towns may have their own minimum wage laws. Be sure to check which Wisconsin minimum wage laws may apply to you.

Are there plans to change the minimum wage?

There are no plans to raise the minimum wage, which has been set since 2009. However, the majority of Wisconsin residents do support raising the minimum wage. In Wisconsin, some cities are showing signs of efforts to try and increase the minimum wage quicker than the state with proposed bills to eventually reach a $15 minimum wage. However, under Wisconsin state law local governments cannot increase the minimum wage of all workers in the local area. If any increases to the minimum wage were to be passed at a local level, these increases would only apply to county workers.

As proposals to increase the minimum wage in Wisconsin continue to be considered at the state and local level, it is not yet certain when and how the Wisconsin minimum wage will change in the future.

How should small business owners prepare for potential changes to the minimum wage?

Even though it may not seem like there are any immediate plans to raise the Wisconsin minimum wage, it is still beneficial to be prepared in case there is a change. Here are a few options you may want to consider:

Consider automating certain aspects of the work and find ways to reduce production costs. Automated payroll software, for instance, cuts down on the time you spend paying your employees, and the payroll features of Square’s system make the whole process a breeze. It also includes small business pricing to fit every budget.

Square has tools to help your business succeed, like how to get a free EIN.

As always, to make sure your business is prepared and stays in compliance, you should discuss Wisconsin’s minimum wage laws with your accountant and lawyer.

Meredith Galante
Meredith Galante is a freelancer writer based in New York City. She's been writing for Square since 2017 where she's covered everything from the best software for restaurants to use to maximize profit, minimum wage laws across the country, and tips for entrepreneurs to maximize their impact.


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