What You Need to Know About North Dakota’s Minimum Wage

Everything you need to know about North Dakota's minimum wage.
Mary Hohn, Writer

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

Across the country, multiple states have raised their minimum wage requirements in 2019. While North Dakota’s wage has stayed the same, it’s important to make sure you’re up to speed on the state requirements if you’re a small business owner.

Here’s a roundup of must-know details on the minimum wage in North Dakota.

What is the minimum wage in North Dakota?

North Dakota’s minimum wage matches the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. The minimum wage applies to most employees in North Dakota, but there are some exceptions, including:

  • Tipped employees: Employers must pay tipped employees a cash minimum of $2.13 per hour. Up to $5.12 in tips earned per hour can be deducted from employee wages as a “tip credit” for employers. However, tipped employees’ total compensation must equal at least $7.25 per hour (including tips).
  • Full-time and vocational students: Provided employers have a license from the North Dakota Department of Labor, they can pay students 85% of the minimum wage.
  • Minors: Under the “Youth Minimum Wage Program,” employers can pay workers under the age of 20 a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for their first 90 days of employment.
  • Employees considered exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Since some counties, cities, and towns may have their own minimum wage laws, make sure you confirm which local wage laws apply to you.

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Are there plans to change the minimum wage beyond 2019?

Not currently. Earlier this year, a North Dakota Minimum Wage Increase Initiative was proposed, but proponents of the measure didn’t submit signatures before the March 14, 2019 deadline. The initiative would’ve incrementally raised the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021, but since proponents missed the signature deadline, the initiative failed to appear on the ballot.

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

Though there are no plans for a North Dakota minimum wage increase in the immediate future, it’s better to be prepared for when the time comes. To ensure your business is ready, we recommend taking the following steps:

  • Reevaluate your budget: Review your monthly revenue and expenses to see if your staffing levels are appropriate. Based on your cash flow, determine if you need to adjust your staffing plan.
  • Use hiring best practices: Save valuable time and money by using hiring best practices. If you ask the right questions and thoroughly vet candidates, you have a better chance of finding the right employees the first time around. Once you find the right people, focus on keeping them with effective retention strategies.
  • Upgrade your technology: If you automate time-consuming tasks like payroll, you can save time, which allows you to focus more energy on growing your business.

While these are helpful guidelines to follow, to make sure your business is prepared and stays in compliance, you should discuss North Dakota’s minimum wage laws with your accountant and lawyer.

Mary writes for Square, where she covers topics that affect business owners — from starting a business to growing a business — and the tools and technology that help them succeed.