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The federal minimum wage rate is currently $7.25 per hour. Most employers (including churches, schools, preschools and early childhood centers) must pay their non-exempt employees at least the minimum wage. Although the standard is fixed on an hourly basis, employers may pay workers a salary on a monthly basis, by piecework or any other basis as long as the minimum wage is met. The minimum wage requirement is met if each workweek, the straight-time wages paid (or accrued to bepaid) is equal to the number of hours worked multiplied by the minimum wage rate. Wage payments in any medium other than cash are also allowed as long as its fair market value to the employee meets the minimum wage requirements. In lieu of the minimum wage, an employer may temporarily pay an employee under age 20 a training or “opportunity” wage. This special wage cannot be less than $4.25 per hour during the worker’s first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment. However, an employer is prohibited from hiring employees at the opportunity wage for the sole purpose of reducing the hours or employment benefits of its workforce. Minimum wage standards do not apply to exempt employees. An exempt employee is any individual employed in an executive, administrative or professional capacity if certain income tests are met (see 7.334). By the inherent nature of their professional duties and training DCEs, DCOs (including interns) and vicars are generally considered exempt employees or are not subject to the FLSA because of the ministerial exception. Likewise, doctors, lawyers and most teachers are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements of the FLSA (see 7.334). Any uncertainty about an individual’s employment status (exempt or non-exempt) should be resolved with the assistance of legal counsel. Finally, be aware that many states and cities have adopted wage standards higher than the federal minimum. If in doubt, contact your congregation’s district office for more information; or your own state and local department of labor offices.

 

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