The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, was first established in 1938. The FLSA is a US federal law which governs several aspects of employment. Most notably, the FLSA established a national minimum wage standard, outlined rules for overtime pay, and prohibited most forms of child labor. Since its creation 70 years ago, the FLSA has undergone many major revisions. One recent amendment was passed by Congress in 2007. This Fair Minimum Wage Act will incrementally increase the minimum wage standard up to $7.25 an hour by the year 2009.
The FLSA covers all employees engaged in interstate commerce or employed by a company that engages in or produces goods for interstate commerce. Under the FLSA, the national minimum wage is currently set at $5.85, after the latest increase from the Fair Minimum Wage Act in July 2007. This minimum wage provision is not at simple as it sounds. For example, workers who receive tips (waiters in a restaurant, for example) are held to a different wage standard – they have a minimum wage of just over $2 an hour, provided that this standard wage plus their tips averages $5.85 or higher an hour.
The second main role of the FLSA is the delineation of overtime pay rules. According to the FLSA, workers must be paid time and a half for overtime hours. In simplified form, this means that a worker who puts in 50 hours in a single work week must be paid 1.5 times his normal wage for the 10 hours over 40 that he worked. Not all employees are covered by this portion of the FLSA.
The FLSA also sets out regulations for child labor. In summary, FLSA regulations permit children 14 years and older to work, while limiting the number of hours for 14 and 15 year old youths, and requiring that enough time be allowed for attending school. A slightly different set of standards is used for farm work; in general, the age requirement is loosened for agricultural jobs, and children of any age may perform any job for unlimited hours on a farm owned and operated by their parents.
For more information on labor standards and employment law, check out the resources provided by Los Angeles employment lawyer Perry Smith at his website: