The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to more than 80 million workers in the United States. The law requires most employers to pay at least the federal minimum wage and to pay extra for overtime. The FLSA also regulates other pay-related issues and establishes rules about child labor.
Payment Must Be Regular
The FLSA requires employers to pay in cash or by check on regularly scheduled pay days. Wages include payment for the work you performed, as well as for overtime. The employer must keep careful records of all payments and deductions. The FLSA does not require employers to pay for time off, including holidays, sick leave, vacations, or meal periods.
Some Workers are Exempt
Some workers are exempt from minimum wage, overtime, or both. Exempt workers include professional, administrative, and executive employees. Other categories of exempt workers include seasonal employees, fishermen, domestic workers living in the employer's home, transportation workers, and some commissioned employees.
At Least the Minimum Wage
As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage for most workers covered by FLSA was $7.25 an hour. This amount changes periodically. Some employees, including youth workers and those who regularly receive tips, may receive less than the minimum wage. Many states have laws requiring a higher wage.
If an employee works more than 40 hours in a 168-hour period (one week), the employer must pay overtime of at least one-and-a-half times the regular pay rate. Employers cannot force workers to waive their right to receive overtime.
Children Younger Than Age 14
You must be at least 14 years old to work in a non-farming job. The law restricts the number of hours a child between the ages of 14 and 16 may work. It bars employers from using workers between the ages of 14 and 18 for hazardous jobs.
Child labor laws do not apply to youths hired to deliver newspapers, babysit, or work in nonhazardous businesses owned by their parents. The laws also do not apply to child actors and other performers.
Penalties for Violating the Law
The U.S. Department of Labor enforces the FLSA. Penalties for violating the law may include paying back wages, a civil fine, or criminal prosecution. An employer may also be barred from shipping goods it produced while in violation of the FLSA.
An Employment Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding the Fair Labor Standards Act is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an employment law lawyer.