Is it legal to make less than minimum wage during modified duty?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal to make less than minimum wage during modified duty?

I was hired at a hotel on a Indian reservation at
12.50/hr and now since I have had a work
related injury for my back the workers
compensation program say that it’s a
mandatory 9/hr. Is it legal? And since I have
been injured I have been dealing with
supervisors who say ‘I’m faking it’ and a
workers compensation rep who keeps
pestering me whenever I call out due to the

Asked on September 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

While not all federal labor-related laws apply to Indian reservations, the Fair Labor Standards Act does. That means that you must earn at least *federal* minimum wage. However, because Indian reservations are semi-sovereign entities--almost like their own countries embedded within the United States and the state they're in--*state* labor laws do not apply to them. Therefore, California's higher minimum wage does not apply to a reservation employer. Your employer needs to pay you at least the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour), which it is, but does not need to pay you CA minimum wage.

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