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Wisconsin Workplace Rights

If you are a Wisconsin worker employed in the state, there is a plethora of workplace information available for your knowledge. It is important to understand your workplace rights both prior to accepting employment and during the course of your tenure, so you are able to vouch that you are receiving fair pay, as well as proper treatment.

Wisconsin Wage and Hour Laws

As you enter a new contract to work in Wisconsin, the most important tidbit of information you should know beforehand is the state’s minimum wage rates. To not be paid minimum wage by a company in Wisconsin is illegal. Below, find a list of the current minimum wage rates, so you can ensure you are agreeing to be paid your worth in the workplace. Note that in regard to the below, an “opportunity employee” is an employee who has not yet reached 20 years of age, and has been employed by his or her employer for 90 or less consecutive days from the initial employment date.

General Minimum Wage Rates

Non-opportunity employees:  $7.25 per hour

Opportunity employees: $5.90 per hour

Minimum Wage Rates for Tipped Employees

Non-opportunity employees: $2.33 per hour

Opportunity employees: $2.13 per hour

Minimum Wage Rates for All Agricultural Employees

Adults: $7.25 per hour

Minors: $7.25 per hour

Minimum Wage Rates for Golf Caddies

Nine holes: $5.90

Eighteen holes: $10.50

Labor Standards: Breaks and Meals

If you are an employee under the age of 18, you may not work longer than six hours without being granted a 30-minute, fee-free meal period. Note that breaks that total a shorter duration are not required, but can, of course, be granted.

If you are an employee in the state of Wisconsin who is older than 18, and your employer provides you with any break times that last less than 30 minutes, the time should be counted toward your workday hours.  Note that state law does not require these mini breaks be given to employees, but the Department of Workforce Development recommends that employers do so. However, note that breaks of at least 30 minutes should be determined between your employer and you.

Regarding on-duty meal periods, employers must pay employees for 30 consecutive minutes free from work while they remain on premise. Your employer cannot deduct from your work wage if you are taking any breaks that are less than 30 minutes.

Keep in mind that if you have not been paid in-full for all hours worked, you are free to file a Labor Standards Complaint with the Equal Rights Division.

Keeping Payroll Records

Under the Wisconsin Administrative Code Section DWD 272.11 employers must keep payroll records for at least three years for any current or past employees, except for those paid hourly that are exempt from the state’s overtime provisions.  Keep these records, or a duplicate, in a safe and accessible place. Payroll records should contain information like: