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February 27, 2010
Covered Enterprises and Exceptions to Federal Minimum Wage Laws

In a BLR webinar entitled "Wage & Hour Risks in 2010: Preventing the Most Common (and Costly) Wage & Hour Mistakes," attorneys Mark E. Tabakman and Thomas C. Wigand discussed what defines a “covered enterprise” with regards to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). They also highlighted four notable exceptions to federal minimum wage laws.

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Virtually all employers are subject to FLSA minimum wage requirements either because the employer is a “covered enterprise” or because its employees engage in interstate commerce.

A "covered enterprise" as defined under the FLSA includes:

  • All businesses that have $500,000 or more in annual sales or receipts
  • Businesses that operate hospitals or residential care facilities for the elderly or people with disabilities
  • Schools and government agencies

An employer may pay four groups of employees below the minimum wage:

  • People with mental or physical disabilities
  • Full-time students
  • Certain employees under age 20 ("opportunity wages")
  • Certain employees who receive tips

Mark E. Tabakman, Esq., is a partner in the nationwide law firm Fox Rothschild, LLP. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Thomas C. Wigand, SPHR, Esq., is the founder of Wigand Associates LLP, an employment advisory consulting practice based in Middletown, Rhode Island. He can be contracted by visiting

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