The federal government, in 1938, passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which among other provisions established a minimum wage to ensure that all working Americans could afford a certain standard of living. The government has increased the minimum wage fairly regularly over the years, but not in nearly a decade. Today, a single parent with a dependent child working full-time in a minimum wage job lives below the poverty line.
While many high-profile companies pay their workers more than the legally mandated minimum, there are companies that pay their entry-level associates minimum wage or close to it. As a result, average salaries at these companies are often less than $40,000.
To identify the 29 lowest paying companies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average pay in over 1,200 companies and organizations with operations in the United States. The companies with the lowest average salaries span a range of industries, including restaurants, accommodations, landscaping, and nonprofits.
In many cases, the companies on this list offer low-skilled jobs that require little or no experience or education. Such jobs, like pizza delivery driver for Pizza Hut or cashier at Burger King, are popular among younger Americans and those entering the workforce for the first time.
For those working at some companies on this list, income may not be the most important consideration. A handful of organizations on this list are nonprofits, meaning they exist to serve a social cause, not to make money. Such organizations include Head Start, an early childhood education program run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Youth Villages, a child services group that helps young people with emotional, mental, and behavioral problems. Average annual salaries at these organizations are $35,000 and $37,000, respectively.
While average salaries are low in every company on this list, most of them are not without some well-paying positions. A dozen organizations on this list have at least one position with an average annual salary above $75,000. At G4S Security Services, a company with an average salary of just $21,000 a year, general regional managers earn an average of nearly $110,000 a year.