Fair Labor Standards | Brown Kwon & Lam | FLSA

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The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) was created to ensure fair work practices for employees pertaining to the minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor standards. The Act protects employees, both part-time and full-time, in the private, federal, state, and local sectors.

While other laws protect employees, it is critical for any employment issue that your employer is abiding by the fundamental standards of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

What Does the Fair Labor Standards Act Include?

The Fair Labor Standards Act defines the following:

  • Minimum Wage: As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. States may also implement minimum wage requirements above the federal minimum wage. The FLSA only restricts states from going below it. In those cases where an employer falls under both federal and state statutes, the employee receives the higher wage. For example, the New York State minimum wage is more than the federal minimum wage.
  • Overtime: Nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over the 40-hour workweek. They must be at a rate no less than one and a half times the regular rate of pay. There is no federal limit on the number of hours an employee 16 years of age or older may work in a workweek. Also, the Act does not require special overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest. Regular overtime rules apply on these days normally.
  • Hours Worked: Hours someone works include all the time during which they have to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace. Employers pay employees for rest periods that are usually 20 minutes or less as regular working time. Employers don’t have to compensate for 30-minute meal breaks. However, the employee cannot have work responsibilities while they eat regular meals. If the employee must perform tasks of the job or be available in any way, they are not on a true break.
  • Record keeping: Employers are required to post an official poster outlining the FLSA’s provisions. Employers also need to keep up-to-date and accurate records of certain identifying information about employees. This also includes the hours employees work and the wages they earn. Such information is on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division website.
  • Child Labor: Child labor provisions protect the educational opportunities of minors. These provisions also prohibit child employment to protect their health or well-being. Certain forms of employment may follow different child labor standards which are on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. This includes the food industry, retail, recreational spaces, health care, etc.

It is critical for employees and employers alike to understand what the FLSA provides. States and employers can create their guidelines as long as they are not harmful to employees, discriminatory, or contradict current legislation.

Who does the FLSA cover?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, all employees that engage in “interstate commerce, producing goods for interstate commerce, or handling, selling, or otherwise working on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for such commerce by any person,” fall under the Act.

Employees who are not covered under the FLSA may still be subject to minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor provisions as set forth by the Act if they are employed by a company that engages in interstate commerce in any of the above forms.

FLSA covers domestic service workers such as day workers, housekeepers, chauffeurs, cooks, and full-time babysitters if:

  • Wages from one employer were at least $1,700. This amount adjusts yearly to reflect Social Security Administration guidelines.
  • The domestic service worker works more than 8 hours a week for one or more employers or clients.

Knowing if the FLSA covers you can be difficult, especially if the business is small or new. However, if you feel that your employer is not treating you fairly, you have a right to seek guidance from your HR or an employee rights attorney in your state.

Fair Labor Standards Act Violations: Brown Kwon & Lam

If you’re an employee in New York State and believe your employer is not abiding by the principles of the Fair Labor Standards Act, you need the guidance of an employee rights attorney. We will review your minimum wage or overtime pay violations, investigate errors in record keeping, and ensure that employers are following child labor standards. Contact the New York employee rights attorneys of Brown Kwon & Lam today.

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