What is the Fair Labor Standards Act, and how does it work?

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2022 | Wages & Hours

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that protects workers in New York and other states. Employees have certain rights and protections under this law. It’s important to understand it and know how it works.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1938 to protect workers and ensure that they are paid fairly. The FLSA includes a variety of regulations about how much a worker should be paid, overtime and even limits on child labor.

How does the FLSA work?

One of the ways the FLSA works is that it establishes that all employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour. This might vary if a state has set a minimum wage that is higher than that.

The law protects both hourly and salaried employees. If a person works hourly, it means they must be paid for every hour they have worked. Employers are prohibited from withholding wages that any employee is due. Workers who earn an annual salary at a fixed rate are paid the same amount each pay period. Their pay must be at least equal to the minimum wage.

The FLSA also allows nonexempt employees to qualify for overtime pay for any hours they work that exceed 40 hours per week. Overtime pay must be at least one and a half times the employee’s normal pay rate for each hour they work over 40 hours in any given week.

Only regular employees are covered by the FLSA. Those who work as independent contractors are not covered.

However, certain employees are not entitled to overtime per the law. People who work in administrative or executive positions and farmworkers, for example, are not eligible for overtime.

If an employer deliberately misclassifies an employee as exempt when they are nonexempt, it’s a violation of the FLSA.