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Understanding the Wisconsin Minimum Wage

This article doesn’t constitute legal advice. Please consult a lawyer or accountant in your state to learn more about minimum wage legislation as it applies to your business.
Meredith Galante, Writer

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 Wisconsin’s minimum wage.

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What is the minimum wage in Wisconsin?

The minimum wage rate in Wisconsin matches the federal minimum wage rate, which is currently $7.25 per hour. This has been the minimum wage since 2008, when it went up $0.75.

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 what local 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. If the federal minimum wage goes up in the coming years, as other states push toward $15, Wisconsin could be affected.

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 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:

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 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.