Rhode Island Minimum Wage Laws – 2022


Minimum wage

Rhode Island’s current minimum wage is $11.50. RI Dept. of Labor and Training – Minimum Wage, RI Minimum Wage Poster

Rhode Island employers must also comply with federal minimum wage laws, which currently set the federal minimum wage at $7.25. See FLSA: Minimum Wage.

Suppose an employer chooses to pay employees minimum wage. In that case, the employer must pay those employees in accordance with the minimum wage law, either federal or state, that results in the employees being paid the higher wage.

In most instances in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island minimum wage will apply as it generally guarantees a higher wage rate for employees than federal law.


Minimum Wage Calculator


Tip minimum wage

Rhode Island’s minimum wage for tipped employees is $3.89. RI Minimum Wage Poster

Rhode Island defines gratuities (tips) as monetary compensation received by an employee, either directly or indirectly, for services rendered. Employers may pay the tipped minimum wage to employees who work in jobs, except driving taxicabs and limited public motor vehicles, where gratuities are customarily and usually part of their weekly income.

If an employer chooses to pay employees the tipped minimum wage, it must also ensure that the employees earn the standard minimum wage when tipped wages earned are combined with tips received. If employees are not paid the standard minimum wage when tipped wages earned are combined with tips received, the employer must pay employees the difference. RI Statute 28-12-5.

Moreover, under Rhode Island labor laws, all tips earned by an employee are the sole property of the tipped employee. Any agreement, policy, or other arrangements that require an employee to share any part of their tips with their employer is explicitly prohibited by law. RI Statute 28-14.1-2

Credit card fees

Employers are permitted to deduct credit card fees from an employee’s tips if:

  • the employer notifies the employee of the deduction
  • the credit card fees deducted from the employees’ tips do not result in the employee earning less than the State’s minimum wage
  • the employer must pay the employee the tips they have earned no later than the regular pay day and may not wait until the credit card reimburses the employee

RI Statute 28-14.1-4

Service charges

Employers cannot count service charges as tips received to determine if the employee is a tipped employee. RI Statute 28-14.1-1 A service charge is defined as a “compulsory fee charged by an employer to a patron.” RI Statute 28-14.1-1 However, employers may rely on service charges earned by an employee to determine if they have complied with the State’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. If an employee earns tips in addition to compulsory service change when serving a guest, the tips earned may be included by the employer when determining if the employee is a tipped employee. RI Statute 28-14.1-1


Tip pooling and sharing

Rhode Island minimum wage laws allow employers to require employees to participate in tip pooling or sharing if:

  • the employer notifies the employees of any tip pool contribution amount
  • only take a tip credit for minimum wage purposes for the separate and actual amount of tips each employee ultimately receives

An employer may allow non-tipped non-exempt employees to participate in tip pooling or sharing only if the employer does not include tip credits when determining if tipped employees are paid the State’s minimum wage. Employers may not allow exempt employees to include in tip pooling or sharing. RI Statute 28-14.1-2


Subminimum wage

Employees with disabilities

Rhode Island minimum wage laws do not allow employers to pay employees with disabilities a wage rate less than the standard minimum wage. RI Statute 28-12-9 (Repealed).


Trainees

Rhode Island minimum wage laws do not allow employers to pay trainees a subminimum wage rate that is less than the standard minimum wage.


Apprentices

Rhode Island minimum wage laws allow employers to pay apprentices a subminimum wage rate that is less than the standard minimum wage if they obtain a special certificate from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training to do so. Employers may only pay apprentices the subminimum wage for the first 90 days of employment. RI Statute 28-12-10.


Learners

Rhode Island minimum wage laws also allow employers to pay learners a subminimum wage rate that is less than the standard minimum wage if they obtain a special certificate from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training to do so. Employers may only pay learners the subminimum wage for the first 90 days of employment. RI Statute 28-12-10 .


Student learners

Rhode Island minimum wage laws do not allow employers to pay student learners a subminimum wage rate that is less the standard minimum wage unless they qualify for the learner subminimum wage exception.


Student workers

Rhode Island minimum wage laws do not allow employers to pay student workers a subminimum wage rate that is less the standard minimum wage unless they qualify for the learner subminimum wage exception.


Rhode Island Minimum Wage Laws 2022 FAQs

Will there be a minimum wage increase in Rhode Island in 2022?

Yes, and it already happened. The most recent minimum wage increase that Rhode Islanders experienced was on January 1, 2022, when it was raised from $11.50 to $12.50.

This is part of a series of minimum wage increases that started on January 1, 2021, ending on January 1, 2025. These wage hikes seek to give people a more livable wage. Hopefully, make a more accommodating wage spectrum and even break the cycle of poverty.

Are there plans for further minimum wage increases beyond 2025 in Rhode Island?

While there is an ongoing minimum wage discussion, all of these pertain to the adjustments until 2025. There is no information on whether the hourly wage rate will continue to increase.

What do business owners need to know about minimum wage increases in Rhode Island?

Some essential information about minimum wage hikes are:

  • Minimum Wage Exemptions

There are different types of employees, and some of them have minimum wage exemptions. For instance, domestic employees who work in their employer’s residence, salespeople, and those employed by family members have minimum wage exemptions.

  • Other Minimum Wage Rules

In relation to the previous point, you also need to determine the other rules that may apply to your employees. For instance, a waitress minimum wage should accommodate a tipped wage rate.

Meanwhile, unlike other states, Rhode Island doesn’t allow business owners to pay a subminimum wage for their minor employees. Unless your student workers qualify for a subminimum wage exemption, the youth minimum wage will match the regular rate.

  • Seek Professional Help or Invest in Payroll Technology

It can be easy for hectic business owners to lose track of these minimum wage increases. The problem is, you might be looking at potentially costly wage complaints before you even know it.

Fortunately, this is easy to prevent by working with a payroll expert or utilizing one of the many available payroll platforms.


Other State’s Minimum Wage Information

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
CaliforniaIowaMissouriOhioVermont
ColoradoKansasMontanaOklahomaVirginia
ConnecticutKentuckyNebraskaOregonWashington
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
District of ColumbiaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
FloridaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming
Georgia

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