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What you should know about the Fair Labor Standards Act

What you should know about the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards for employees in the United States. The law applies to businesses that have at least $500,000 in annual gross receipts, or engage in interstate commerce.

The FLSA helps to ensure that workers are fairly compensated for their time and labor, and protects them from being exploited by employers. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of the FLSA, including its history, provisions, and recent changes.

History of the Fair Labor Standards Act

The FLSA was signed into law in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in response to widespread worker exploitation during the Great Depression. The law established a minimum wage, maximum workweek, and outlawed child labor in most industries.

Over the years, the FLSA has been amended and expanded to cover more workers and provide additional protections. In 1949, the law was extended to cover all workers engaged in interstate commerce, and in 1974, it was expanded to cover state and local government employees.

Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act

1. Minimum Wage

The FLSA establishes a federal minimum wage that employers are required to pay to employees. As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Some states have established a higher minimum wage, which employers in those states must comply with.

2. Overtime Pay

The FLSA requires employers to pay overtime to non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime pay must be one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. Exempt employees, such as executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are not eligible for overtime pay.

3. Child Labor Standards

The FLSA sets restrictions on the hours and types of work that minors are allowed to perform. For example, 14 and 15-year-old employees are generally restricted from working more than 3 hours on a school day, or more than 8 hours on a non-school day. Minors are also prohibited from performing hazardous work, such as operating heavy machinery or working with toxic substances.

4. Recordkeeping

Under the FLSA, employers are required to keep accurate records of hours worked, wages paid, and other employment-related information. This helps to ensure that employees are being fairly compensated, and provides a record of employment for legal or tax purposes.

Recent Changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act

In recent years, the FLSA has undergone several changes and updates to reflect the evolving nature of the workforce. Here are a few of the most notable updates:

1. Changes to Overtime Pay Rules

In 2016, the Department of Labor issued a rule change that would have increased the salary threshold for exempt employees from $23,660 to $47,476 per year. This would have made an estimated 4.2 million additional workers eligible for overtime pay. However, the rule change was ultimately struck down by a federal judge in 2017, and the salary threshold remains at $23,660.

2. Joint Employer Rule

In 2020, the Department of Labor issued a new rule that clarified the definition of “joint employment” under the FLSA. Joint employment refers to situations where an employee has two or more employers, or where one employer is deemed to be jointly liable for violations committed by another employer. The new rule provided a four-factor test to help determine when joint employment exists.

3. Independent Contractor Rule

In 2021, the Department of Labor withdrew a rule that would have made it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors, rather than employees. The rule would have allowed employers to use a simpler test to determine whether a worker was an independent contractor, which could have resulted in fewer protections and benefits for workers.

Enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the FLSA. The WHD investigates complaints and conducts audits of employers to ensure compliance with the law. Employers found to be in violation of the FLSA may be required to pay back wages and face civil or criminal penalties.

Employees who believe their rights under the FLSA have been violated can file a complaint with the WHD. Complaints may be filed anonymously and there are protections against retaliation by employers.


The Fair Labor Standards Act is a critical law that protects workers and ensures that they are fairly compensated for their time and labor. By establishing minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor standards, and recordkeeping requirements, the FLSA helps to prevent worker exploitation and promote fair employment practices.

Recent changes to the FLSA, such as the joint employer and independent contractor rules, have sparked debate and controversy. However, the fundamental goal of the law remains unchanged: to protect the rights and interests of workers in the United States. Employers must comply with the provisions of the FLSA to avoid legal consequences and ensure a fair and ethical workplace for their employees.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a fundamental piece of legislation passed by the United States Federal Government and enforced by the Department of Labor. The Fair Labor Standards Act is responsible for establishing minimum wage, recordkeeping regulations, overtime pay rates and youth employment standards, which affect employees in both the private sector and in Federal, State and local governments. The Fair Labor Standards Act affirmed, for covered nonexempt workers, a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and overtime pay at a rate no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for a normal 40 hour work week.

Specifics associated with the Fair Labor Standards Act:

The Fair Labor Standards Act Minimum Wage laws:

o The Fair Labor Standards Act Minimum Wage law, as of July 24, 2009, is $7.25 per hour. Although the Fair Labor Standards Act institutes federal mandates, each individual state has the ability to raise the minimum wage scale. In cases where an individual employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the individual will be entitled to the higher minimum wage rate.

The Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Laws:

o The Fair Labor Standards Act states that all covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek at a rate no less than one and one-half times their regular pay rate. The Fair Labor Standards Act offer no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in a given work week.

Furthermore, the Fair Labor Standards Act does not require overtime pay for work on weekends or holidays, unless overtime is worked on such days.

The Fair Labor Standards Act Hours Worked Laws:

o The Fair Labor Standards Act states that all hours worked ordinarily, including all the time during which the employee is required to be on the employer’s premises or on duty must be kept and displayed in accordance with the United States Federal Government. Through these laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act aims to protect the educational opportunities of minors by prohibiting employers from exploiting children.