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The Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is an important federal law regulating the payment of minimum wages, overtime pay, record keeping requirements and child labor. To be entitled to the protections of the FLSA, the employee must be qualified and non-exempt. Qualified employees fit into one of two categories: enterprise coverage or individual coverage.

  • Enterprise coverage: employees who work for certain businesses or organizations that have at least two employees and who have an annual dollar volume or sales or business of at least $500,000. Enterprise coverage also applies to hospitals and other businesses providing medical care or nursing care; medical residents; schools and preschools; and government agencies.
  • Individual coverage: employees whose work regularly involves them in interstate commerce, including producing goods for interstate commerce or working in a closely-related process or occupation essential to production of goods for interstate commerce.

Some types of employees are exempt from certain provisions of the FLSA. The list of exemptions and their descriptions are included in the Act, but some examples of types of employees exempt from the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions include executives, professionals, administrative employees, employees working in occupations of seasonal or recreational nature and certain agricultural workers.

Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage for nonexempt, qualified employees under the FLSA is $6.55 per hour, set to increase to $7.25 per hour on July 24, 2009. A different minimum wage exists for employees under 20 years old, who may be paid $4.25 per hour for their first consecutive 90 days of employment.


Qualified, nonexempt employees are entitled to not less than time-and-a-half of their regular wages for any hours they work over 40 hours within a work week. Overtime must be paid to eligible employees, no matter how the employee is normally paid. Thus employees who are paid salary, hourly, by commission, by daily rate or any other method still are entitled to overtime.

Record Keeping

Employers are required to keep records of certain data in order to meet their obligations under the FLSA, including employee personal information (address, phone, sex, occupation); the number of hours worked each day and each week; the hour and day the workweek starts; regular earnings each week; overtime for each workweek and the regular hourly pay rate for any week overtime is worked; and total wages earned each pay period.

Employers may be required to maintain a different set of information for exempt and nonexempt employees.

Child Labor

The child labor provisions in the FLSA seek to limit the number of hours and the types of employment that may be taken by minors fitting into certain age groups. Some of the restrictions apply only to those who work on farms or in agriculture. The FLSA also maintains a list of jobs that are too hazardous for minors of certain ages to perform. Generally, a minor must be at least 14 years old to begin working in jobs that are not farm-related.

The FLSA does not require the following:

  • Payment or time-off for holidays or vacation days
  • Payment for sick time
  • Premium pay for holidays and weekends
  • Severance pay
  • Notice of discharge or the reasons for discharge
  • Meal and rest periods
  • Pay raises
  • Fringe benefits
  • Limits on the number of hours or the number of days an employee can be required to work, so long as the employee is over 16 years old

To learn more about your rights under the FLSA, contact a skilled employment law attorney today. He or she can discuss your rights and any legal remedies that may be available to you.

Meeting with Your Employment Law Attorney

To read and print out a copy of the checklist, please follow the link below.

Meeting with Your Employment Law Attorney

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