The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments.
- FLSA Minimum Wage: The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Many states also have minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage.
- FLSA Overtime: Covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours – seven consecutive 24-hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days. Some exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under special circumstances to police officers and fire fighters employed by public agencies and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes.
- Hours Worked (PDF): Hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.
- Recordkeeping (PDF): Employers must display an official poster outlining the requirements of the FLSA. Employers must also keep employee time and pay records.
- Child Labor: These provisions are designed to protect the educational opportunities of minors and prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to their health or well-being.
Various minimum wage exceptions apply under specific circumstances to workers with disabilities, full-time students, youth under age 20 in their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment, tipped employees and student-learners.
Many states, such as Pennsylvania, also have minimum wage laws. Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage rate. Where state law requires a higher minimum wage, the higher standard applies.
Some states have also enacted overtime laws. Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal overtime laws, the employee is entitled to overtime according to the higher standard (i.e., the standard that will provide the higher rate of pay).
Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor
The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor enforces the FLSA’s federal minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor requirements. The following are some examples of FLSA-related investigations conducted by the Wage and Hour Division:
Wage & Hour Lawsuits
Victims of wage and hour violations also have the right, under the FLSA, to file a private lawsuit to recover back wages, an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs.
Examples of wage and hour violations include, but are not limited to, *unpaid overtime or improperly calculated overtime pay; *misclassification as exempt from overtime; *misclassification as an independent contractor instead of as an employee; *lack of pay for work performed during meal and rest breaks; *as well as, if you are a non-exempt employee, inappropriate compensation for all hours worked, including work performed at the beginning and end of each workday; and *workplace retaliation for asserting your legal rights.