What You Need to Know About the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

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The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), first enacted by the United States Congress in 1938, sets standards for the basic minimum wage and overtime pay. The FLSA also sets standards for record keeping and for child labor. The FLSA affects most private and public sector employment, including state, local, and Federal government.

The FLSA requires employers to pay employees who are not exempt from overtime at least the federal minimum wage. Employers are also required to provide overtime pay of one and a half times the ​non-exempt employee's regular rate of pay.

In a frequently asked question, the law does not set a standard for overtime pay for weekends or holidays. It simply requires an employer to pay non-exempt employees time and a half for work over 40 hours.

Employers who choose to pay employees, as an example, double time pay on holidays, are doing this out of goodwill, not legal requirements. It makes a great deal of sense though that employers are concerned about their employees' motivation and retention when they're scheduled to work on a holiday. Double time pay helps.

Since laws, especially minimum wage standards, can vary from state to state, you need to be aware of the requirements in your state. Employers nationally are required to follow the Federal government standards but if your state or locale has a higher minimum wage requirement, the local requirement supersedes the Federal requirement.

Recent law changes have redefined how some employees are classified as exempt or non-exempt. Check the Department of Labor website for the current rules that were established in 2004 and the new rules that are proposed for 2015.

According to the Labor & Employment Law Blog, "On Monday, July 6, 2015, in response to a March 2014 executive order signed by President Obama, the Department of Labor (“Department”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will more than double the minimum salary necessary for a worker to be classified as “exempt” from the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) overtime regulations. It is estimated that over 5 million, currently exempt, salaried employees will be affected by the increased salary threshold."

Want to stay out of the crossfire from the Department of Labor? Make sure you have classified employees correctly and that you are paying people in jobs that should be nonexempt, overtime pay.

The Act is administered by the Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division within the U.S. Department of Labor.

See the Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards (FLSA) site for additional resources and information.