The Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the criteria for overtime pay, minimum wage, recordkeeping, and youth employment for employees in both the private and public sectors. Effective July 24, 2009, nonexempt workers covered by the FLSA are entitled to a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In addition, unless an employee is exempt from FLSA's overtime provisions, they must be paid one-and-a-half times their regular hourly rate for any hour exceeding the 40-hour workweek. FLSA’s child labor regulations provide protections for minors aged 14 to 17 years old, which include restrictions on work hours, and a list of occupations deemed too hazardous for minors to perform.

What Is Required under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires an employer to:

  • Pay employees a minimum wage
  • Pay overtime pay for time worked over 40 hours in a workweek
  • Adhere to child labor provisions
  • Maintain records of hours, wages, and other wage items ordinarily kept in a business practice

What Does the Fair Labor Standards Act Not Require?

Employers typically engage in a lot of business practices that the FLSA does not require them to do. These include:

  • Providing payment for employees who take vacation, sick leave, or holidays
  • Giving compensation for meal or break periods
  • Providing extra payment or higher wages for employees who work weekends, nights or holidays
  • Giving a pay increase or fringe benefits
  • Giving a discharge notice or reason for discharge
  • Providing severance pay
  • Giving performance evaluations
  • Providing health insurance or other insurance benefits

Who Is Not Covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act contains some exemptions from its basic requirements depending on the type of business or work that the employer and employees engage in. Frequently, the overtime provision, the minimum wage provision, or both provisions will not apply. Some common occupations and employees not covered under all or parts of the FLSA are:

  • Commissioned sales employees of retail or service establishments
  • Seasonal and recreational establishments
  • Computer professionals who earn at least $27.60 per hour
  • Salesmen, partsmen, and mechanics of car dealerships
  • Drivers, driver's helpers, loaders and mechanics
  • Farmworkers
  • Executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees paid on a salary basis

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

An employment attorney can help you determine whether you are an employee entitled to overtime pay or a minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. An attorney can also assist you with a claim if you believe your employer has not paid you the minimum wage, for hours worked above a 40-hour workweek, and for any dispute regarding pay. If you are an employer, a lawyer will make sure you are in compliance with state and federal employment laws.