The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that governs such matters as the minimum wage, overtime pay, and recordkeeping requirements. The FLSA established the basic threshold of legal protections for employee pay in the United States. While many states offer more generous benefits to workers through their own wage and hour laws, the FLSA acts as the minimum set of rules that ensure employees are paid fairly, accurately, and on time for their work.
The Lore Law Firm has extensive experience representing workers in FLSA claims in state and federal courts. If you’ve been denied your legal rights, fill out our free client intake form so our team can review your situation.
What Is the FLSA?
The FLSA was enacted in 1938 and created the Wage and Hour Division within the U.S. Department of Labor. The law, which has been amended since 1938, established worker rights to minimum wage and overtime pay while setting rules concerning pay records, youth employment, and more. Workers who are covered by the law are entitled to be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. They are also required to be paid overtime, at the rate of 1.5 times their hourly rate (or time and a half) for all hours worked over 40 during a work week.
The FLSA sets the minimum rules affecting private sector employees as well as those in federal, state, and local government. States have enacted their own laws that cover many of the same areas that fall under the jurisdiction of the FLSA, as well as additional matters not addressed in the federal law. While states can offer more generous protections to workers, they cannot deprive employees of the minimum rights secured by the FLSA. Wherever the FLSA and state laws differ, the rule that is more beneficial to employees will apply.
What Issues Are Covered By the FLSA?
As a law that governs the labor rights of every American and migrant worker, the FLSA is fairly broad in its scope. Employees must be paid accurately and timely for all hours worked during the work week. This generally means all time that a worker is on duty or at a prescribed place of work, including work performed at home, travel time, waiting time, training, and probationary periods.
These are a few of the more specific wage and hour matters that fall under the scope of the law:
- Minimum wage. Nonexempt workers must be paid a minimum wage of at least $7.25/hour, which is the federal rate that went into effect on July 24, 2009. Tipped workers may be paid $2.13/hour. However, if an employee’s tips combined with the hourly wage do not add up to the minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference. Many states and municipalities have enacted higher minimum wages.
- Overtime pay. Workers must be paid 1.5 times their regular hourly rate, also known as time and a half, for all hours over 40 worked during a week. A work week is any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours or seven consecutive 24-hour periods. There is no cap on the number of hours that employees 16 years or older can work during a week. Work done on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest does not have to be paid above the regular hourly rate unless overtime is worked on those days.
- Hours worked. To save money, many employers refuse to count all time devoted to work duties as payable hours. “Hours worked” includes all time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace. This definition addresses such issues as when waiting time and on-call time must be paid.
- Meal breaks and rest periods. Relatively short rest periods (e.g. 20 minutes or less) must count as hours worked. Longer periods devoted to meals (usually 30 minutes or more) do not have to be paid. However, the employee must actually be relieved of work duties during this time for the employer to avoid having to pay him or her. If the employee is on call during lunch or frequently interrupted, for instance, that time counts as hours worked.
- Recordkeeping rules. Employers have to maintain certain records concerning their employees’ pay. These records must include certain information related to the identity of each employee, the number of hours worked, and the amount of wages earned. In addition, employers must display an official poster outlining their workers’ wage and hour rights.
- Child labor. Provisions of the FLSA also concern how many hours per week young people can work at different ages. Different rules apply to youth employed in agriculture. And as with other areas of the law, state provisions also regulate the amount of time young employees can work.
Taking Action to Protect Employees’ Rights
The Lore Law Firm works to protect employee rights by filing claims related to overtime pay and other areas that are covered by the FLSA. We also help enforce state laws that are related to these matters. Our national network of co-counsel and local counsel has successfully resolved countless claims on behalf of clients whose wage and hour rights have been violated.
Reach Out to the Lore Law Firm Today
We understand the frustration and stress you are undoubtedly feeling if your employer has refused to pay you properly for the work you’ve done. We are committed to supporting workers by fighting against illegal employment practices and winning compensation for unpaid back wages. Connect with us today by filling out our free and confidential intake review form so we can review your case.