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Minimum Wage Exemptions

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Small retail and service firms could lose their minimum wage exemptions if Congress adopts the recommendations of the presidentially appointed Minimum Wage Study Commission. About 1 million small companies meet the annual sales volume test of $325,000 or less, exempting them from minimum wage requirements. In a minority report, commission member S. Warne Robinson, former chairman of the G.C. Murphy Co., comments: "The only way [small businesses] can cope with the increased wage rates is to reduce employment and service levels, the one competitive edge they have over larger enterprises... By recommending abolition of the exemption rather than its expansion, the Commission majority turns its back on the nation's small businesses." Before 1966 amendments to labor laws, the dollar-volume test for exemption was $1 million.




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