Fair Labor Standards Act

What does Fair Labor Standards Act mean?

Passed in 1938, the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) set certain work rules within the private, federal, state and local governments. Specifically, the FLSA established overtime pay, youth employment rules, and minimum wages for both part-time and full-time employees.

The Wage and Hour Division (Wage-Hour) enforces standards outlined in the Fair Labor and Standards Act for private employees. Other employees in the state and local government, the U.S. Postal Service, Postal Rate Commission, and the Tennessee Valley Authority are also overseen by the Wage and Hour Division. Legislative members are under the authority of the United States Congress. The Executive Branch is overseen by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Basic Wage Standards established by the FLSA

As mentioned above, the FLSA established minimum wage rules. Currently the federal minimum wage limit is $7.25 per hour, which became effective on July 24, 2009. Overtime pay rates must be paid at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay after 40 hours of work in a week.

Rules not included under FLSA standards include pay raises, fringe benefits, discharge notices, rest periods, holiday pay, sick pay, premiums paid for weekend or holiday work or immediate payments for discharged employees. These benefits and payment schedules are generally negotiated between the employee and the employer. Additionally, the FLSA does not regulate the number of hours worked per day or per week by employees, assuming the worker is older than 16 years of age.

The FLSA also allows for exemptions from both overtime and minimum wage pay requirements. For instance, many executives, administrators, and professional employees (including teachers and academic administrative personnel in elementary and secondary schools) do not receive overtime pay.

Benefits of FLSA

The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was considered a landmark piece of legislation because it ensured reasonable work hours for workers, especially young workers, who at times had been exploited by employers.

Although the FLSA does not regulate hours worked in a given week, it does create a minimum amount that employers could pay for overtime. Additionally, the FLSA also established a reasonable pay rate for hourly employees.

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