The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs four areas of employment law:
- Federal minimum wage
- Overtime pay requirements
- Recordkeeping requirements
- Child labor standards
A 2010 amendment to the FLSA also created break time requirements specific to nursing mothers.
Who is Subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act?
Understanding whether or not your employees are protected by the FLSA and to what extent can be complicated. Enterprises with more than two employees with gross business revenue of at least $500,000 annually are generally subject to all provisions of the FLSA, though some exemptions apply. However, falling short of the $500,000 annual threshold does not necessarily mean that an employer can ignore the FLSA.
Some enterprises with gross sales volume below $500,000 are “grandfathered” and remain bound by certain provisions of the Act. Hospitals, schools and some other types of enterprises are covered without regard to revenues. And, employees of enterprises not themselves subject to FLSA standards may be protected if their work involves regular participation in interstate commerce.
Experienced Legal Professionals
The experienced labor and employment attorneys in our firm can help you understand your obligations under the FLSA to protect against expensive and time-consuming investigations, administrative procedures and litigation.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay Compliance Under FLSA
It is important for employers to fully understand how minimum wage and overtime pay requirements do and do not apply to their workforce. While most employers will be aware that there is a minimum hourly pay rate for most employees, there are considerations that may not be as readily apparent. For example, certain employee payroll deductions are prohibited if they reduce the employee’s wages to below the minimum wage or cuts into required overtime pay.
Certain classes of employees are considered exempt and are not protected by the FLSA minimum wage or overtime requirements. Contrary to the belief of many employers, simply creating a salaried position does not create an exempt employee. In addition to the exempt class, some employees are exempt only from overtime pay requirements,while still others are partially exempt. Failing to pay overtime for salaried employees who turn out not to be exempt can be very expensive.
Tipped Employees Under the FLSA
The minimum wage for tipped employees under FLSA is lower than the general minimum wage. However, a minimum level of earnings from tips is required, notice by the employer is required and the employer is responsible for ensuring that tips and direct wages combined equal at least the general minimum wage.
In short, compliance with minimum wage requirements may not be as straightforward as offering a particular hourly rate. Guidance from an experienced labor and employment attorney will help you ensure that your operations are compliant and help you protect yourself against employee claims.
The bare bones of minimum wage requirements, overtime pay requirements and restrictions on child labor are common knowledge and the average employer knows enough to understand that the company needs legal guidance on compliance. In contrast, many may be entirely unaware of the recordkeeping requirements under the FLSA. Differing requirements apply to exempt and non-exempt workers, with additional information required for home workers, employees under the age of 19 and certain other classes of employee.
Child Labor Provisions
The conventional shorthand that says you must be 16 to be employed addresses only one aspect of the child labor provisions under the FLSA. While those aged 16 and 17 have no restriction on the number of hours they may work, there is some regulation regarding the type of jobs they may be placed in. And, those aged 14 and 15 may work in certain types of jobs, though there are extensive restrictions on the number of hours worked per day and per week, as well as the times of day when the minor may be scheduled to work.
A 2010 amendment to Section 7 of the FLSA introduced a break time requirement for nursing mothers. Such breaks must be provided as frequently as needed to express milk for her nursing child and allow adequate time. In addition, an affirmative obligation is placed on the employer to provide an appropriate location. However, there are exceptions to the requirement. For example, employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to these requirements if compliance would create an undue hardship, although assessing undue hardship is a multi-faceted and somewhat subjective process.
Talk to a Labor and Employment Lawyer about the FLSA
Whether you are just starting out and want to ensure that you are compliant, have run into troubles and need to re-vamp your policies and processes or are facing an investigation or litigation, our experienced labor and employment attorneys can help. Protect yourself right now with the right guidance and representation.