If you’re job hunting in the Peach State, you may be wondering, what is the current minimum wage in Georgia?
Wages in the South tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum, and unfortunately Georgia is no exception. If you have kids or extra expenses like medical debt, an entry-level job that pays the minimum amount may not be enough to keep you financially comfortable.
To help you determine if an entry-level job will be enough to meet your needs or if you’ll need to pick up some side work, here’s an overview of the minimum wage in Georgia.
What is a Minimum Wage?
The minimum wage is the lowest hourly rate businesses can pay covered nonexempt employees without breaking the law. Most hourly workers are considered covered nonexempt, except for certain types of employees like trainees and people who make tips.
Currently the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour. States, cities, and counties can also pass their own minimum wage laws. Nearly 30 states have decided to raise the minimum wage in their jurisdiction above the federal standard.
But two states, Georgia and Wyoming, actually have a lower minimum wage of $5.15 per hour. That doesn’t mean businesses can pay their employees less than the federal minimum of $7.25, however.
What is the Minimum Wage in Georgia?
Although the minimum wage in Georgia is technically $5.15 per hour, employers are required to pay their employees a minimum of $7.25 an hour per the federal standard. However, certain employees may be paid less.
Employers are allowed to pay workers who are in training $4.25 per hour during the first 90 days of employment. Tipped workers can also be paid at a lower rate of $2.13 per hour as long as their tips bring them up to the federal minimum wage.
Higher Minimum Wages
Some cities in Georgia have a higher cost of living and have raised their minimum wage to ensure that workers can afford their bills. In 2017, Clarkston raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour. Employers in Atlanta also have to pay their workers at least $15 per hour.
Many politicians have been trying to raise the minimum wage in Georgia to $15 per hour for several years. Unfortunately nothing has come of it so far. But Georgia workers will see their wages increase if President Biden’s plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour is successful.
Is It a Living Wage?
The living wage for each state is the amount of income it takes to cover basic expenses like housing, food, and healthcare. It doesn’t include any extra money for savings, travel, or entertainment.
According to MIT, the living wage for one adult without kids in Georgia is $15.36 per hour. The current minimum wage falls short of that by $8.11.
Because the minimum wage hasn’t kept pace with the cost of living in the state, you may find it hard to get by with an entry-level job. You might have to live with roommates or pick up side hustles like delivering pizzas to afford your bills.
Do you think the minimum wage in Georgia is high enough? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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