Understanding the Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and youth employment. Employers must comply with these requirements.
Minimum wage and overtime pay
As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. This wage applies to nonexempt workers. Wages under the FLSA are due every regular pay day for the employee’s covered pay period.
The FLSA does not regulate vacation, holiday, severance or sick pay, meal or rest periods, premium pay for weekend work, pay raises, fringe benefits or wage payments to terminated employees.
While the FLSA does not limit how many hours in a day or days in a week an employee may work, employers are required to pay workers one and one-half times their regular pay rate for overtime, which is time worked after 40 hours in a workweek.
Recordkeeping and enforcement
Employers are required to keep records about wages, hours and other items. These include the employee’s name, home address, occupation, gender and birth date if the employee is under 19. The records must also include information about when the workweek begins, the total hours the employee works, the hourly pay rate, overtime pay, wage deductions and other items.
FLSA compliance is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. It may investigate and review employer data on wages, hours and employment conditions.
An experienced wage and hour attorney can provide employers with additional information about the FLSA and provide representation if there is an employee dispute.