How Much Is Minimum Wage in Tennessee?

Find out how Tennessee's laws compare to the rest of the U.S.

Server at Arcade Restaurant in Memphis. Tipped workers make $2.13 an hour in Tennessee. Credit: Mario Tama / Staff / Getty.

Question: How Much is Minimum Wage in Tennessee?

Answer: Tennessee is one of five states in the U.S. that does not have its own minimum-wage laws. As a result, federal minimum wage applies to employees in Tennessee. On July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage (and therefore Tennessee's minimum wage) was set at $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees (and some student jobs). The minimum wage for tipped employees, such as servers, is $2.13 per hour, provided that the tips bring the total pay to $7.25 or more per hour.

The minimum wage for tipped employees, such as waiters, is $2.13 per hour, provided that the tips bring the total pay to $7.25 or more per hour.

In 2014, about 7.5% of Tennessee’s workforce, 117,000 people, had minimum-wage jobs—making it the state with the largest portion of its workers making minimum wage. The other states that do not have minimum-wage laws are Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

State-level minimum-wage laws have passed with bipartisan support in other states, and protesters in Tennessee have called for the legislature to pass one there. But bills to raise the state’s minimum wage have enjoyed little support. One failed to make it out of committee in 2014, and Gov. Bill Haslam said he would be surprised if subsequent bills succeeded.

On the other end of the spectrum is Massachusetts, which raised its minimum hourly wage to $11, effective Jan. 1, 2017. On the local level, some towns and cities have voted to enact minimum wages as high as $15 an hour.

Updated September 2017