The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards for employees in the United States. It was enacted in 1938 and has been amended several times since then. The FLSA is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the FLSA, including its history, coverage, exemptions, and enforcement.
History of the FLSA
The FLSA was enacted in 1938 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Its purpose was to establish a minimum wage and maximum workweek, and to prohibit the employment of children in certain occupations. The FLSA was amended in 1949 to include coverage of all employees engaged in interstate commerce or in the production of goods for interstate commerce. In 1961, the FLSA was amended to establish a minimum wage for tipped employees. The most recent amendment to the FLSA was in 2009, which increased the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour.
Coverage under the FLSA
The FLSA applies to most employees in the United States, including those who work for private companies, federal, state, and local governments, and certain non-profit organizations. The FLSA establishes minimum wage and overtime pay requirements, as well as recordkeeping and youth employment standards. However, there are certain exemptions to the FLSA that apply to certain types of employees and industries.
Exemptions under the FLSA
The FLSA provides exemptions from minimum wage and/or overtime pay requirements for certain types of employees and industries. Some of the most common exemptions include:
- Executive, administrative, and professional employees who meet certain criteria
- Outside sales employees
- Certain computer employees
- Certain agricultural and farm workers
- Certain employees who work in seasonal or recreational industries
- Certain employees who work in transportation and delivery industries
It is important to note that an exemption from the FLSA does not mean that an employer is exempt from all labor laws. Employers must still comply with other federal and state laws regarding employment, such as anti-discrimination laws, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay Requirements
The FLSA establishes a federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which applies to most employees. Some states and cities have their own minimum wage laws that are higher than the federal minimum wage. Employers must pay their employees the highest minimum wage rate that applies to them.
The FLSA also requires employers to pay overtime pay to non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime pay must be at least one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. Some employees are exempt from overtime pay requirements, such as certain types of salaried employees.
The FLSA requires employers to keep certain records regarding their employees’ wages and hours worked. Employers must keep records of their employees’ names, social security numbers, addresses, dates of birth (if under 19), and occupation. Employers must also keep records of their employees’ hours worked, wages earned, and deductions taken. These records must be kept for at least three years.
Youth Employment Standards
The FLSA establishes certain standards for the employment of minors. Minors under the age of 14 are generally prohibited from working, except for certain types of work, such as delivering newspapers. Minors who are 14 or 15 years old may work limited hours in non-hazardous jobs. Minors who are 16 or 17 years old may work unlimited hours, but may not work in hazardous jobs.
Enforcement of the FLSA
The Wage and Hour Division of the DOL is responsible for enforcing the FLSA. Employers who violate the FLSA may be subject to fines, back pay awards, and other penalties. Employees who believe that their employer has violated the FLSA may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division.
The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards for employees in the United States. It applies to most employees in the United States, but there are certain exemptions for certain types of employees and industries. The FLSA is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers who violate the FLSA may be subject to fines, back pay awards, and other penalties. Employees who believe that their employer has violated the FLSA may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division. It is important for employers and employees to be familiar with the FLSA and its requirements in order to ensure compliance with the law.