Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The FLSA sets the 40-hour workweek, as well as minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards for employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. The FLSA covers all business in the U.S. with employees, except for a very few, very small businesses.

The FLSA exempts a variety of employees from workweek, minimum wage and/or overtime laws. Exempt employees include executives, administrative personnel and professionals; employees of seasonal amusement or recreation parks, small newspapers and newspaper deliverers; announcers, news editors, and chief engineers at certain non-metropolitan broadcasting stations; and movie theatre employees. The FLSA exempts another class of employees from its overtime provisions only, particularly those who work at hospitals, residential care facilities, police and fire departments and some securities industry brokers. All other employees are “non-exempt employees,” and the FLSA hours, wage, overtime and recordkeeping requirements apply to them. Employees who earn more than $30 per month in tips are subject to a separate minimum wage structure, as are some student workers and physically or mentally disabled workers. The FLSA prohibits employment of minors under age 14 and restricts the number of hours of employees under age 16 may work.

The FLSA does not regulate or require vacation, holiday, severance, or sick pay; nor does it require meal or rest periods, holidays off, or vacations. It also does not require premium pay for weekend or holiday work, and it does not mandate or regulate pay raises or fringe benefits. The FLSA also does not regulate termination of your employment at all—either the reasons for it or final wages (severance).

How do I know if I am covered and non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Most employees are non-exempt under FLSA, and all the requirements of the law with regard to wages, hours worked and overtime protect you. You must be paid minimum wage; you must be paid for overtime.

  • If you are not an executive, part of administrative personnel or a professional, you are probably non-exempt
  • If you work a regular, 40-hour workweek without an employment contract, you are probably non-exempt
  • Regardless of your job title, if you earn less than $455/week (gross), you are non-exempt.
  • If you earn more than $100,000 per year (gross), and you perform professional, administrative or managerial duties, you are exempt.

I think I have a problem with my employer under the FLSA and may be entitled to back pay:

  • Act quickly–you have a limited time to file a complaint for FLSA violations.
  • Gather any documents relevant to your employment, including paystubs.
  • Consult an experienced employment layer; you’re initial FLSA consultation is free.

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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