What You Need to Know About Idaho’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.

As a small-business owner in the Gem State, we know you want to stay on top of recent increases to Idaho’s minimum wage in 2020-21. That’s why we put together this quick guide to help you get started.

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What is the minimum wage in Idaho?

The state minimum wage in Idaho is $7.25. This is the same as the federal minimum wage, which has not changed since July 2009. Idaho is one of 21 states that follow the federal minimum wage.

There are some exceptions to the $7.25 minimum wage:

  • Idaho employers can pay a new employee who is under 20 years of age a training wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment.

  • Employers can pay full-time high school or college students 85 percent of the Idaho minimum wage (or $6.16 per hour) for up to 20 hours of work per week at certain jobs, like work-study programs at universities.

  • Some employees are considered exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

  • Federal contractor employees, who must be paid a minimum wage of $10.60, effective January 1, 2019.

  • Effective July 24, 2007, the minimum wage for tipped employees is $3.35 per hour with a maximum tip credit against minimum wage of $3.90. A tipped employee is classified as someone who regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. To determine the wage of tipped employees, an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s cash wage must equal the minimum hourly wage.

What’s happening with the minimum wage in Idaho beyond 2020?

The Idaho state legislature is not currently considering any bills that would increase the minimum wage. However, there is a minimum wage increase initiative that is currently circulating for a $12 minimum wage in Idaho. The initiative was set to increase the minimum wage to $8.75 per hour in 2021 and have the Idaho minimum wage in 2024 set at $12 per hour.

The Idaho minimum wage increase initiative was not on the November 2020 ballot as an initiated state statute. On March 17, 2020, Idahoans for a Fair Wage announced that they were suspending their signature drive due to the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign reported having collected more than 32,00

How should small business owners prepare for minimum wage increases?

Right now, there are no plans in the near term for a new minimum wage in Idaho. However, state lawmakers have raised the issue in recent years, especially in response to recent studies that showed a number of minimum wage workers in Idaho were making less than the federal minimum wage.

Although Idaho’s minimum wage has remained the same for more than 10 years, it’s a good idea to discuss minimum wage law with your accountant and lawyer to ensure that you remain in compliance and avoid payroll mistakes.

Here are some other steps you can take to make sure your business is ready for anything:

  • Evaluate your staffing: Take a look at your hourly, weekly, and monthly sales to determine if your current staffing levels are appropriate. Based on those sales and the rest of your finances, make a plan for any future hiring. Maybe you need to add a new full-time employee each year. Or maybe your sales are seasonal and hiring contract employees during your busy seasons makes more sense.

  • Hire the best: Hiring the right people is always important, but doubly so when you operate a small business. So take your time and cast a wide net when recruiting new employees. And once you have your team in place, make employee retention a priority by offering them benefits and a path to growth and development in order to make your business a more attractive place to work.

  • Upgrade your technology: When you automate complicated, time-consuming aspects of management, you can spend more time focusing on issues like staffing and growing your business. We are not talking about a complete overhaul of all the technology in your business. Even incorporating small business payroll software can free up tons of time every month. Square has a number of payroll software features like automatic hours tracking and team management functions. Plus, it is designed to track and manage both hourly and salaried employee payroll. And updating your tech doesn’t have to cost you a lot, as Square Payroll has pricing for small businesses.