Tennessee Minimum Wage Increases Today -
Additional Unpaid TN Overtime Lawsuits Expected

July 24, 2009 by Jim Higgins

Federal minimum wage (and Tennessee minimum wage) rose today from $7.25 from $6.55 an hour. This affects 30 states, including Tennessee, who either have minimum wage below the federal rate or, like Tennessee, have no minimum wage provisions of their own.

Congress during the Bush Administration set a three-stage, annual minimum wage increase in 2006. In 2007, the federal (and Tennessee) minimum wage rose to $5.85 an hour (from $5.15) and then to $6.55 in 2008. Today’s minimum wage of $7.25 is the final of the stage of the minimum wage increases. Despite these increases, minimum wage remains only 85 percent of what it was in the late 1960s when adjusted for inflation. And despite these increases and over forty hours worked, many Tennesseans are not being paid the overtime they’ve earned. (Read previous blogs on Tennessee overtime lawsuits

Today’s minimum wage increase affects an estimated 4.5 million wage workers and is predicted to reduce the savings rate and stimulate consumer spending to the tune of $5.5 billion annually. A household with a 40-hour minimum wage earner will increase its monthly income by about $120. Today’s minimum wage increase in Tennessee and across the U.S. was met with resistance by the National Small Business Association.

This $.70 increase applies only to non-exempt employees. The $7.25 minimum wage increase will not apply to Tennessee food servers and other tipped employees, who will remain at $2.13 an hour after the proposed increase to $3.28 an hour failed due to the efforts of Tennessee Reps. Campfield, Kelsey and Bell earlier this year.

Tennessee employers are required to update their federal minimum wage and hour notice postings. These minimum wage postings must be placarded in a conspicuous place to notify Tennessee employees about the FLSA minimum wage and overtime rules.

As more Tennessee businesses attempt to cut costs during this recession, I expect my employment law division of my Nashville, TN legal offices will experience a deluge of calls from Tennessee wage earners who have discovered that they have not been paid fairly, whether by time-shaving of their hours or false categorization. Check out our TN Employment law pages for more information on Tennessee employment law or contact my law offices by filling out our TN wage and hour complaint form.