One of the fundamental rights of workers is the right to earn a decent wage. To that end, there are many laws nationwide that put forth a minimum required wage.
Minimum wage is a legally required rate of compensation that applies to all qualifying employees. In general, there is a state minimum wage and a federal minimum wage and companies are required to pay whichever rate is higher. Not all workers are required to make minimum wage. Tip-based positions such as servers can actually make less than minimum wage as long as their tips make up the difference.
The federal minimum wage is a national pay rate determined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The last time the federal minimum wage was increased was on July 24, 2009 which raised the rate to $7.25 per hour for qualifying employees.
While each state has the right to implement a minimum wage law of their own, there are some limitations on how it can be implemented. In general, if the minimum wage of a state is below the federal minimum wage, companies will be required to use the federal minimum wage instead. For this reason, many states have minimum wage laws that default to the federal minimum wage.