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Know Your Rights as a Worker

Understanding workers' rights and labor laws can help you before and after your job search.

What is the Minimum Wage?

Employers must pay you at least the hourly minimum wage.

Minnesota's Hourly Minimum Wage

     
$7.75 Training wage Wage an employer can pay a new employee under age 20 for the first 90 consecutive days of work.
$7.75Small employers Any enterprise with annual gross revenue of less than $500,000.
$9.50 Large employers Any enterprise with an annual gross revenue of $500,000 or more.

Effective: August 1, 2016. Minimum wage will index for inflation starting on January 1, 2018.

What Should You Know About Wages, Tips, and Overtime Pay?

  • Pay for all work time. Minnesota employers must pay you for all hours worked. This includes training, rest periods (less than 20 minutes), times when there are no customers, and any other time you're required to be at work.

  • Pay for overtime. Both youth and adults are eligible for paid overtime. Small employers are required to pay overtime after 48 hours in a seven-day workweek. Large employers are required to pay overtime after an employee works 40 hours in one week. Employers are required to pay at least one-and-a-half times your regular pay for overtime.

  • Tips and minimum wage. People who work as wait staff may receive both an hourly wage and tips. In Minnesota, an employer legally cannot pay you less than the minimum wage and say that you'll make up the difference in tips. If you are expected to receive tips, your employer still must pay you at least the minimum wage.

  • Final paycheck. When you leave a job, you receive a final payment of wages from your employer. If fired, your final wages generally should be paid within 24 hours (unless you're the one who handles the money or property, then the wait is 10 days). If you voluntarily quit, final wages are due on the usual payday for the last day worked.

What Are the Laws About Working Youth?

The hours young people can work depend on their age and the size of their employer.

Before you turn 14, you cannot legally take any job in the state of Minnesota. Exceptions to this include babysitting, working as a model, some agricultural work, and a few others.

If you are between 14 and 17, the following rules apply:

Company TypeRules
Small Employers
Any enterprise with annual gross revenue of less than $500,000.
If you are 14-15 years old
You cannot work: before 7 a.m., after 9 p.m., more than 40 hours in a week, or more than eight hours in a 24-hour period. However, if you are a newspaper carrier, you're allowed to work before 7 a.m.

If you are 16-17 years old
You cannot work before 5 a.m. or after 11 p.m., unless you have written permission from a parent or guardian to extend those hours by one half hour.
Large Employers
Any enterprise with an annual gross revenue of $500,000 or more.
If you are 14-15 years old
You cannot work: after 7 p.m., more than three hours per day on a school day, or more than 18 hours per week.

If you are 16-17 years old
You do not have any special restrictions regarding hours of work.


After you turn 18, you are no longer a minor and can work for as long as and with whatever schedule you and your employer decide.

How About a Break?

All employees are allowed certain breaks while working. You must be allowed to use a restroom every four hours and be provided sufficient time to eat a meal when you are working eight or more hours. These breaks do not have to be paid. But, if your meal break is less than 20 minutes or you're required to eat while working, an employer must pay you for that time.

Where Can't You Work?

Where you work depends mostly on your age. If you're under 18, for instance, you can't serve, dispense, or handle liquor. You're also not allowed to work in rooms where liquor is served or consumed. There also are laws about working with hazardous materials or in hazardous settings, and there are laws about working with some types of transportation or machinery.

What Is Workers' Comp?

Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits for those who become injured or ill as a result of their job. Workers' compensation "compensates" for medical bills, wages lost, or vocational rehabilitation services if you can't return to your job. Your employer's insurance company pays these benefits.

By law, your employer cannot:

  • Take the cost of workers' compensation insurance from your wages
  • Prevent you from reporting your work-related injury
  • Threaten you or take action against you for filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits
  • Pay for your medical expenses and then require you not to report the injury

Should you ever become injured on the job, don't wait to report your injury. If you wait too long, your claim might be denied. After the injury is reported, your employer will fill out a statement and send it to the insurance company. You have a right to receive a copy of the employer's report. The insurer will either accept or deny your claim.

If you have any questions about a claim or the workers' compensation process, visit the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry or call 651.284.5005, 1.800.342.5354 or TTY: 651.297.4198.