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What You Need to Know About Louisiana’s Minimum Wage

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Please consult a tax attorney or tax professional if you have questions about minimum wage compliance.
Meredith Galante, Writer

As an employer, you want to pay your employees a competitive and living wage — and be sure to follow the law. Some states have multiyear plans to increase the minimum wage, while other minimum wage laws vary by city. If you’re currently a small business owner in Louisiana, we’ve got you covered for your first step toward navigating the minimum wage in 2019 and beyond.

If you’re currently a small-business owner in Louisiana, we’ve got you covered for your first step toward navigating the Louisiana minimum wage in 2020 and beyond.

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What is the minimum wage in Louisiana?

The Louisiana minimum wage remains unchanged from the last few years at $7.25. Louisiana mirrors the federal minimum wage. The Louisiana minimum wage was last changed in 2008, when it was raised $0.70 from $6.55 to $7.25. The federal rate has not changed since 2009.

All exemptions in the Louisiana state minimum wage mirror the exemptions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Occupations such as farm workers, seasonal workers, newspaper deliverers, “informal” workers, and even babysitters can be paid less than $7.25.

For restaurant servers and other tipped employees, the tipped minimum wage is less than the federal minimum wage—typically at $2.13 per hour. However, if your restaurant, café, or small business uses tip pooling, you may have to pay your employees the federal minimum age.

Understand more about how people tip and decide which tipping model will work best for you and your staff.

Will Louisiana’s minimum wage change in 2020?

The Louisiana minimum wage will not change in 2020. However, it almost did. In early 2018, the Louisiana State Senate voted down a bill that would have increased the state minimum wage above the current federal wage. The bill proposed raising the minimum wage to $8 an hour in 2019 and $8.50 in 2020, but was voted down after business interest groups voiced displeasure.

However, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is pushing for a $10 minimum wage in Louisiana. Currently, the bill has been endorsed by Senator Troy Carter.

Are there plans to change the minimum wage in Louisiana beyond 2020?

Right now, there are no plans to increase the Louisiana minimum wage. Louisiana remains just one of five states that have never adopted a state minimum wage. This means that the state defaults to whatever the federal minimum wage is.

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

While there are no plans in the immediate future for the Louisiana minimum wage to change, advocates across the state are lobbying for it. Eventually, the federal minimum wage will also likely increase, so it’s good to be prepared for what this might mean for your business.

  • Make strong hires: Recruiting and training people can be more expensive than paying a higher wage. Have a thoughtful recruitment and onboarding process to ensure everyone who joins your team is a good skill and culture fit for your business, and learn more about retaining valuable employees.

  • Invest in your team: Spending a little money or time on training your team and helping them feel valued can decrease turnover at your workplace.

  • Talk to your accountant: A trusted accountant can advise you on saving for the future and ensure you’re following all the laws that Louisiana requires, such as making sure you get your EIN for your business.

  • Update your tech: Technology can help you save time and money. Consider automating certain aspects of the work (like payroll) to cut costs. Imagine spending several minutes a week running payroll instead of hours (or instead of hiring someone to do it).

  • Know how many employees would be affected if there was an increase: This is a good time to take inventory and know how many of your staff members would be affected if the Louisiana minimum wage increases. This will help you prepare for the future.

Meredith 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.