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Understanding minimum wage and overtime laws in the U.S.

Paychecks are the major motivation for most of the workforce in the U.S. Compensating employees for their good work is the least employers can do. Federal and state governments recognize that wages are important for the workforce, and enforce strict laws to make sure employees receive their fair share of wages. Each state decides its own minimum wage, depending on living conditions and the costs of living.

According to federal laws, no employee can receive a wage of less than $7.25 per hour. This is the minimum level set by the federal government, though some states have set a slightly higher minimum wage. No state can set a minimum wage lower than that set by federal law. A youth minimum wage of $4.25 has also been set for employees under the age of 20. Youth minimum wage is only applicable for the first 90 days of employment, also known as the training period. Federal laws also force employers to pay overtime to employees who are eligible. Overtime rate has been set at one and a half times the employees' regular wage. The state of Missouri has set minimum wage at $7.65 per hour. Employers are also required to pay overtime to workers who have worked an excess of 40 hours a week.

Failure to pay employees according to these laws may land employers in a fair bit of trouble. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers might face sanctions and back checks on all their employees. In severe cases, employers might also face jail time for denying fair pay to their employees.

If you feel that your employer is not following the wage and overtime laws set by the FLSA, you might want to contact an attorney. The experience of an attorney will be valuable when filing a case against your employer.

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