South Dakota creates separate minimum wage for youth workers

A year after voters approved a hike in the state’s minimum wage, South Dakota legislators have carved out a separate — and lower — hourly standard for workers under the age of 18. The state’s new minimum wage for youth workers is $7.50 per hour. That compares to $8.50 for adult workers.

Supporters of SB 177 told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that the separate youth wage will help young people get a first job. The measure may get challenged at the ballot box; SB 177 opponents have said they plan to seek a veto referendum.

Many states in the Midwest already set separate wage requirements for young workers. Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin allow employees to pay younger workers (under the age of 20) a lower minimum salary during the first 90 days of employment. In Illinois, employees under the age of 18 are guaranteed a wage of $7.75 per hour, compared to $8.25 for adult workers. Minnesota’s minimum wage also differs depending on age: $6.50 for under-18 workers vs. $8 for adult workers. Michigan (16- and 17-year-olds) and Ohio (workers under the age of 16) also set lower wage requirements for youth workers.
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