Fair Labor Standards Act Laws

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 What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and What Does It Do?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains provisions for the requirements for various aspects of employment. The FLSA includes standards for things such as:

Under the FLSA, nonexempt workers who are covered by the act are entitled to receive minimum wage pay rates, which are $7.25 per hour. Minimum wage is the absolute lowest amount an employer can legally pay an employee for their job. The amount of minimum wage may be adjusted over time. Minimum wage can vary by state but cannot fall below the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour.

Additionally, unless an employee is exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements, they must be paid 1.5 times their regular hourly pay rate for any work hour exceeding the 40 hour work week. This is also known as being paid time and a half.

The FLSA provides protections for minors aged 14 to 17 years old under its child labor regulations. These protections include restrictions on maximum work hours as well as a listing of occupations that have been deemed too hazardous for minors to perform.

What are Some Fair Labor Standards Act Requirements?

The Fair Labor Standards Act creates several requirements for employers. FLSA laws include requirements that employments must:

  • Pay their employees at least minimum wage;
  • Pay their employees overtime pay for time worked over 40 hours in a work week;
  • Adhere to the child labor provisions; and
  • Maintain various records of items such as:
    • Hours;
    • Wages; and
    • Other wage records ordinarily kept in a business practice.

What Type of Record-Keeping Standards does FLSA Require?

Pursuant to the FLSA, employers are required to keep accurate and truthful records of wages, hours work, and other important information. These records are not required to be kept in any specific form or format. Also, time clocks are not required. However, employers must keep the following records regarding minimum wage and overtime provisions:

  • Personal information about the employees, including their:
    • Name;
    • Address; 
    • Occupation;
    • Sex; and 
    • The date of birth if the employee is under 19 years old;
  • The day and hour that the work week begins;
  • The total hours worked during each work day and work week;
  • The employee’s total daily or weekly earnings;
  • The regular hourly pay rates for weeks when overtime is performed;
  • The total overtime pay for the week;
  • Any wage deductions or additions;
  • The total wages rendered for each pay period; and
  • Payment dates and pay periods that are covered. 

There are some specific types of employees for which an employer may be required to keep special record keeping information. These may include:

  • Homeworkers;
  • Employees who receive lodging; and
  • Other specific cases.

What Does the FLSA Not Require?

Although the FLSA does have many requirements, it does not have certain requirements of employers. Pursuant to the FLSA, employers are not required to:

  • Provide payment for employees who take valid vacation, sick leave, or holidays;
  • Give workers compensation for meal or break periods;
  • Provide additional payment or higher wages for employees who work weekends, nights or holidays;
  • Provide a pay increase or fringe benefits;
  • Give a discharge notice or reason for discharge;
  • Provide employees with severance pay;
  • Give performance evaluations; or
  • Provide health insurance or other similar insurance benefits.

Which Employees are Not Covered Under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act contains exemptions from its basic requirements. These exemptions depend on the type of business or work in which the employer or employees are engaged. In many cases, the overtime provision, the minimum wage provision, or both provisions do not apply to certain employees.

Common occupations or employees that are not covered under all or parts of the FLSA include:

  • Sales employees of retail or service establishments that work on commission;
  • Seasonal or recreational establishments;
  • Computer professionals earning at least $27.60 per hour;
  • Salesmen, partsmen, or mechanics of car dealerships;
  • Drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders or mechanics;
  • Farmworkers; or
  • Executive, administrative, professional or outside sales employees paid on a salary basis.

What Does the FLSA Say About Child Labor?

The FLSA contains several provisions concerning child labor. These provisions are intended to protect minors and children from job conditions that may be detrimental to their well-being or their health. These provisions also include prohibitions and restrictions on the work hours for minors under the age of 16.

The FLSA contains a list of occupations that are considered hazardous for children and, therefore, too dangerous for them to perform. Examples of dangerous occupations under the FLSA include:

  • A coal mining occupation;
  • A job involving forest fires;
  • An excavation operations job;
  • Jobs involving certain types of machinery, including:
    • Power-driven metal working machines;
    • Circular saws;
    • Bakery machines; or 
    • Various other machines;
  • Other types of jobs.

The child labor provisions of the FLSA are some of the most strictly enforced provisions. Violations of these provisions may result in serious consequences for employers.

What Types of Legal Remedies are Available through the FLSA?

The FLSA provides employees and certain entities, including the Department of Labor, to claim various legal remedies for FLSA violations. In many cases, this permits an employee to recover costs such as back wages and an equal amount in damages for wage or overtime violations.

Back wages are wages that an employer owes an employee because the wages were never paid out. These wages are those the employee was due to receive per their salary or hourly wage amount. Back wages may also be known as retro pay or back pay, depending on the jurisdiction.

An employee should file their claim in a timely manner. There is a 2 year statute of limitations, or time limit for filing a claim, for recovering back wages or liquidated damages. There is a 3 year statute of limitations for cases in which an employer is involved in a willful, or intentional, violation of FLSA provisions.

Employers are not permitted to retaliate against, fire, or otherwise punish employees who have filed a complaint under the FLSA and its provisions. If an employer does retaliate, the employee may sue based on retaliatory discharge laws or similar laws. 

Retaliatory discharge occurs when an employer discharges, or terminates, an employee because they filed a complaint against the employer. Pursuant to retaliatory discharge laws, an employee who is retaliated against may be entitled to further remedies, including damages or reinstatement to the position from which they were fired.

Do I Need an Attorney for Help with My Fair Labor Standards Act Issue?

Yes, if you are facing any FLSA issues, it is important to have the assistance of an experienced  labor attorney. The Fair Labor Standards Act provides many protections for its employees but may prove difficult to navigate. An experienced attorney can review your case, determine whether you are entitled to claims under the FLSA and file a lawsuit on your behalf. 

An attorney can assist with any pay related dispute you may have with an employer. It is important to seek assistance as soon as possible, in order to file within the statute of limitations. An attorney will ensure you are complying with state and federal employment laws and represent you during any court proceedings, if necessary.

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