What Is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a U.S. law that is intended to protect employees against certain unfair pay practices. Therefore, the FLSA lays out various labor regulations relating to interstate commerce employment, including minimum wages, requirements for overtime pay, and limitations on child labor. The FLSA– which was passed in 1938 and has seen many changes over the years– is just one of the most important laws for employers to know, as it sets out a broad range of regulations for handling employees, whether salaried or paid by the hour.
The four primary parts or elements covered by the FLSA are:
- payment of a minimum wage
- overtime pay for working 40+ hours in a week
- recordkeeping by the employer on employees: precise details determining the employee and the hours functioned and also the incomes earned.
- child labor standards and restrictions
How the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Works
The FLSA specifies when employees are “on the clock” and which times are not paid hours. There are also elaborate rules regarding whether workers are exempt or nonexempt from the FLSA overtime regulations. The law requires overtime to be paid at one-and-a-half times the regular hourly rate (” time-and-a-half”) for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours during a seven-day workweek.
The FLSA applies to employees who have an employer and are engaged in interstate commerce or in the production of goods for commerce; it also applies to employees who are employed by an enterprise that takes part in commerce or the production of goods for commerce. The FLSA also applies to domestic service workers (housekeepers, cooks, full-time babysitters) and employees of hospitals; schools for mentally or physically disabled or gifted children; schools at any level, from preschools to universities; and public agencies.
The FLSA does not apply to independent contractors or volunteers because they are not considered employees; therefore, they are not eligible for FLSA protections.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) and Workers
Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay, while exempt workers are not. Most FLSA-covered employees are nonexempt. Some hourly workers are not covered by the FLSA but are subject instead to other regulations. Railway workers, for instance, are governed by the Railway Labor Act, and truck drivers fall under the purview of the Motor Carriers Act.
A lot of full-time office workers (executive and administrative employees) are not protected by FLSA regulations when it involves overtime. Farmworkers may be considered jointly employed by a labor contractor, who hires, arranges, transports, and pays them, and a farmer, who needs their services and pays the labor contractor for their services. Such cases sometimes see employers falsely categorize such workers as volunteers when they meet the definition of “employee” under the FLSA.
The FLSA also establishes the groundwork for how to treat jobs that are primarily compensated using tipping. In such a case, an employer must pay the minimum wage to the worker unless they consistently get more than $30 each month from gratuities. If that employee’s pay (tips included) does not equal minimum wage, then the employer has to make up the difference. Such employees have to either receive all their tips or be included in a tip pool, for which the FLSA sets standards. Busboys are meant to be included in a tip pool under FLSA rules because of the customer-visible nature of their job.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) Exemptions
The FSLA has a broad reach but does not apply to all workers and workplaces. Exemptions exist, both for employers and those they employ.
The FLSA applies just to employers whose yearly sales total $500,000 or more or who are engaged in interstate commerce (which can mean getting letters, phone calls, or web orders from another state). A few employers, including small farms– those that utilize fairly little outside paid labor–, are explicitly exempt from the FLSA.
Just staff employees (instead of freelancers or independent contractors) are covered by the FSLA. Among these workers, several categories of employees are considered “exempt” as well. The main groups consist of:
- Executive, administrative, and professional workers earn salaries of at least $684 each week (with the exception of certain professions). Executives manage others– at least two– as a main job task, and have the authority to hire, fire, and promote. Administrators primarily do office or nonmanual work directly for management and use their own discretion in responsibilities. Professionals perform mostly intellectual work requiring advanced knowledge, skill, or imagination.
- External salespeople routinely work away from the employer’s place of business and are paid primarily through commissions.
- Computer workers (systems analysts, programmers, software engineers, designers/developers, or others) are compensated either on a salary or fee basis at a rate not less than $684 each week or $27.63 an hour.
Other groups consist of:
- Employees of seasonal amusement or recreational businesses
- Employees of local newspapers having a circulation of less than 4,000
- Seamen or women on foreign vessels
- Newspaper delivery workers
- Workers on small farms
- Personal companions, caretakers to seniors, and casual babysitters
Contact Us Today to Get a Free Consultation
If you are ready to start your case or need more information about the Fair Labor Standards Act in Detroit, Michigan, contact Marko Law Firm today. Let us represent you as you seek justice and compensation for your pain and damages. Call (313) 777-7LAW today to get a free consultation or visit our website: MarkoLaw.com to get more information.