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Young employees are entitled to training wage once hired

As summer approaches and young people graduate from school in Michigan, many will be seeking employment, whether full or part time, long or short-term. With the start of a new job also comes the need for training. Some employees might not be aware of their legal rights when it comes to wages during training. If they do not receive what they are entitled to under the law, it could be the basis for a legal filing over a wage claim.

According to the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, workers who are under the age of 20 are required to receive a training wage of at least $4.25 per hour in the first 90 days in which they are employed if certain conditions are met. In order to utilize this law, an employer may not discharge, layoff or displace another employee, reduce the number of hours of an existing employer works, or change an existing employee's benefits or wages in order to hire an employee who will be paid at the training wage. The worker who is receiving a training wage is also allowed to receive overtime. This is one and a half times the hourly pay of $4.25 and comes to $6.38 hourly.

The training wage will encompass 90 days whether or not the employment takes place over one year or more. The seasons or employment periods are also covered. The training wage period is not extended by any change in occupation, duties or employment classification. If an employer commits a violation of the training wage law, they can be held liable for paying minimum wages, liquidated damages, as well as a fine of up to $1,000.

Workers who take a job, are under the age of 20, and are being trained need to know that they, too, have rights just as any other worker would. If there is a violation in hourly pay, unpaid overtime, or any other issue related to employee rights, a legal professional may be able to help with pursuing a case to recover receive what is owed.

Source: Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, "Youth Training Wage," accessed in June 28, 2016

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