Minimum Wage Employee Resources
Minimum Wage FAQs
The complete frequently asked questions document, available in the Download Center (to the right), provides information on implementation and enforcement. It communicates how the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights may guide its personnel in interpreting the Minneapolis Minimum Wage Ordinance.
The rules, available in the Download Center (to the right), govern the procedure that the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights will follow to enforce the ordinance.
Selected FAQs for Employees
The selection of frequently asked questions (below) describe many employee rights in greater detail. To view the answer to the question, click the "+" symbol and a drop down will appear.
Understanding Minimum wage
WHAT ARE WAGES?
Wages include salary, hourly pay, piece rate pay, commissions, and non-discretionary performance bonuses. Tips and employer payments toward medical benefits plans are not wages.
The costs of the following items are not considered wages: 1) uniforms or specially designed clothing required by an employer which is not appropriate for use except in that employment; 2) equipment used in the course of employment, except tools of a trade, a motor vehicle, or other equipment which may be used outside the employment; 3) consumable supplies required in the course of the employment; or 4), or travel expenses in the course of employment, except for those incurred in traveling to or from the employee’s residence. An employer may not deduct these items from an employee’s paycheck if those deductions reduce the employee’s wages below minimum wage.
Employers found to have implemented a system of excessive payroll deductions for the purpose of circumventing the minimum wage law may be found to be in violation of the ordinance.
What is an hour for purposes of the minimum wage law?
Employees must be paid for all time for which the employee performed work for the employer’s benefit.
Do tips count toward the minimum wage?
Tips and gratuities do not affect the new minimum wage owed to employees. No employer may directly or indirectly credit, apply, or utilize gratuities towards payment of the minimum wage.
Tina is a server at a restaurant in Minneapolis. On average, she receives about $8 an hour in tips. Does that count towards the minimum wage her employer must pay her? No, it does not. The employer must pay her at least the minimum wage--not counting tips or gratuities.
Who is considered an employee subject to the
minimum wage ordinance?
An employee is any person who performs work for an employer for compensation, unless otherwise excluded by the ordinance. Persons who are exempt from the state minimum wage under Minnesota Statute Section 177.23 (the state minimum wage law) are also exempt from the Minneapolis minimum wage. Additionally, a) independent contractors and b) certain workers participating in a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development program for persons with disabilities are also exempt from the minimum wage ordinance. Please note that the definition of employee in the Minneapolis Minimum Wage Ordinance is not the same as the definition of employee in the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance.
Do part-time, seasonal, or temporary personnel
count as employees?
Yes. Full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary staff, and persons who are jointly employed by one or more employers (e.g. employees hired through the services of a staffing agency or similar entity) can all be employees, if they fall into the definition above.
What is an independent contractor?
Simply labeling someone an independent contractor does not make it so. Whether a person is an ‘independent contractor’ is determined on a case-by-case basis based upon a variety of facts, including the extent to which the independent contractor retains supervision, direction, and control over the work and the means to complete it. For more information about what makes an employee an ‘independent contractor’, please see the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website on that issue: http://www.dli.mn.gov/WC/IndpCont.asp.
How much is the Minneapolis minimum wage?
Until July 1, 2024, the minimum wage rate depends upon an employer’s size, as defined by total number of workers. The required minimum wage rate will increase until reaching $15 and then continue increasing yearly to account for inflation. See chart at the top of the homepage for more details.
Determining business size
How do I determine my business size under the new minimum wage ordinance
To determine an employer’s size, count the total number of persons performing work for compensation. Add each person per week for each week of the previous calendar year and divide by 52. Include full-time, part-time, jointly-employed, paid interns, seasonal, and temporary workers, no matter where they are located. This calculation determines whether an employer is considered “large” or “small” for purposes of the ordinance ("small" is defined as 100 or fewer). If an employer is a franchise or a full-service restaurant, see FAQ's in the Download Center (upper right on this webpage).
Robot World, a business in Minneapolis, employed 30 full-time workers, 22 part-time workers, and two temp workers each week last year. Robot World averaged a total of 54 (30 + 22 + 2) workers per week. It is a “small business” for purposes of the minimum wage ordinance because 54 is less than 100.
Tree World is a business in Minneapolis. It is open all year round, but there is a lot of variation in the number of persons working during the year. For 12 weeks of the year, it employs 150 full-time workers. During the slowest 10 weeks, it only employs 25. For the remaining 30 weeks, it employs 50 workers.
Tree World has to do some math. It looks like this:
12 weeks x 150 workers = 1,800
10 weeks x 25 workers = 250
30 weeks x 50 workers = 1,500
1,800 + 250 + 1,500 = 3,550
Divide 3,550 by 52 (weeks in a year) to get the average number of employees, like this:
3,550 / 52 = 68.27 employees (weekly average for one year)
Because 68.27 is less than 100, Tree World is a “small business” under the minimum wage ordinance.
What is a “large business” under the new Minimum
“Large business” means all employers that had more than one hundred (100) persons performing work for compensation in the previous calendar year.
What is a “small business” under the new minimum wage ordinance?
“Small business” means all employers that had one hundred (100) or fewer persons performing work for compensation in the previous calendar year.
Minimum Wage Enforcement
Does the minimum wage law apply regardless of an employee’s Immigration status
Employees are covered under the minimum wage ordinance regardless of their immigration status. The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights will process an employee's report of suspected violation without regard to his or her immigration status. An employee filing a report will not be questioned about his or her immigration status. Additionally, if an employer were to suggest to a person that, if they file a wage claim or complaint, the employer will report suspected citizenship or immigration status of an employee or a family member to a government agency, this would be considered retaliation, which is also a violation of the ordinance.
If an employee believes an employer failed to pay at least the minimum wage rate, may the employee file a complaint?
Any employee or person may report a violation of the Ordinance, using the Department’s “Report of Violation” form, to the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Labor Standards Enforcement Division online or in person at Minneapolis City Hall room 239.
“Report of Violation” forms may also be requested and returned by U.S. mail or email. For more information (or to report anonymously), call 311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employees may also seek a legal remedy in court independent of the City’s complaint process and at their own expense.
How will the minimum wage ordinance be enforced
by the City?
Enforcement of the ordinance is the responsibility of the director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (“Department”). Enforcement is complaint based; however the Department also has broad authority to proactively investigate possible violations and issue fines as necessary to gain compliance.
As in other types of labor law enforcement, compliance reviews and investigations may be utilized to identify all affected employees and protect the anonymity of complainants. Damages and civil penalties will be imposed to make employees whole. Administrative fines may also be imposed. Repeat or intentional violators will receive harsher penalties.
Violations of the ordinance may also result in license sanctions, up to and including revocation of a business license by the City of Minneapolis. All legal options and penalties to gain compliance, including enforcement in a court of law, will be considered.
How to report a violation
I want to report a violation, but I’m afraid of retaliation. What should I do?
Retaliation against an employee for exercising or attempting to exercise any rights available under the Municipal Minimum Wage Ordinance is strictly prohibited. Material changes in job duties or hours, formal disciplinary action such as documented warnings, or employment termination may be considered retaliatory. Aggressive enforcement to protect employees’ rights will be pursued by the Department in these types of cases.