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 is included in the Fair Labor Standards Act?
The FLSA defines the following:
- Minimum Wage: As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. In addition to the minimum requirements under the federal government, states may also implement minimum wage requirements that surpass the federal minimum wage but cannot go below it. In those cases where an employer is subjected to regulations under both federal and state statutes, the employee is entitled to 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 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 any given workweek. Also, the Act does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on those days.
- Hours Worked: Hours worked generally include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace. Rest periods that are usually 20 minutes or less are generally paid for as working time. Meal breaks, typically 30 minutes or more, generally need not be compensated as work time. However, the employee must be completely relieved from duty to eat regular meals. If the employee must perform tasks of the job or be available if needed, they have not been completely relieved.
- Record keeping: Employers are required to post an official poster that outlines the FLSA’s provisions. Employers also need to keep up to date and accurate records of certain identifying information about employees and the hours worked and the wages earned. Such information to be included in records can be found via the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division website.
- Child Labor: Child labor provisions are designed to protect the educational opportunities of minors as well as prohibit their employment to be detrimental to their health or well-being. Certain forms of employment may follow different child labor standards which can be found in 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 that the Fair Labor Standards Act provides the minimum requirements for employment. States and employers can create their guidelines as long as they are not harmful to employees, discriminatory, or contradict current legislation.
Who is covered under the FLSA?
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,” are covered 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.
Those who are employed as domestic service workers such as day workers, housekeepers, chauffeurs, cooks, or full-time babysitters are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act if:
- Wages from one employer were at least $1,700 (This amount is adjusted yearly to reflect Social Security Administration guidelines).
- The domestic service worker worked more than 8 hours a week for one or more employers or clients.
Knowing if you are subjected to the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act can be complicated, especially if the business is small or new. However, if you feel that you are not being treated 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 are employed 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 a trusted employee rights attorney. We will review your minimum wage or overtime pay violations, investigate errors in record keeping, and ensure that child labor standards are being followed. Contact the New York employee rights attorneys of Brown Kwon & Lam today.