Overview of the Fair Labor Standards Act

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:


Becoming A Construction Lawyer

Studies have shown that construction labor is one of the three most dangerous jobs in the United States. And this has led to the rising demand for construction lawyers. So, if you are looking for a lucrative career then construction law might be just the right bet for you. And if you have a penchant for law and legislation then you can be rest assured that you will make it big in the field of construction law. A construction lawyer is basically involved in all the processes related to a construction project. He has to be aware of all the nitty-gritty like handling the bidding of developers, land contracts, building contracts and workers’ compensations.

So, what are the education qualifications that you need to be a construction lawyer? Well, construction lawyers are no different from other lawyers and therefore you will have to complete four years of college and then enroll in a law school. You will also need to pass the Bar exam in order to get the certificate to practice. You might need to spend some time working as a lawyer in a firm before specializing in construction law. And when you become a construction lawyer your job will include the basics like making sure all legal aspects are covered before the project takes off and see that the land on which the building is being built is approved. You will also need to make sure that the project has legal financial backing.

Coming to the skills that you need to become a good construction lawyer, it is important that you have excellent communication skills and are well versed and up to date with all the construction laws. You need to have a thorough knowledge of both the legal and the construction field. You must be prepared to work for long hours and have to be organized. You must have the drive to move forward. Your remuneration will depend on the firm with which you work. Reports suggest that the median annual salary of a lawyer is $110,590.

The Lawyer’s Secret Weapon – Paralegals

Efficient management of caseloads and staff is required for lawyers to fully utilize the potential of their practice. Paralegals can play a significant role to ensure this goal. The Department of Labor is projecting that paralegals will be among the fastest-growing professions in the economy by the year 2008.

Below are some of the benefits that attorneys and clients can experience from the employ of a good paralegal:

Benefits to Attorneys

Most legal firms are not streamlined in order to make optimum use of staff. Many lawyers are doing the same work that paralegals do. By allotting work to a paralegal, your own time can be utilized by handling those tasks that require your expertise. Instead of handling every last detail of each case (can you say micro-manage?), set up time each week/day to meet with your paralegal, so that they can bring you up to speed on each case they’re handling for you. The payoff? Increased income from the ability to handle more cases, and more time off, as your presence at the office isn’t required to get everything done.

Benefits to Your Clients

According to a study conducted by American Bar Association, 70% of people choose not to seek help from lawyers for their legal needs. Why? The high cost of legal services and the headaches of dealing with lawyers.

Why not use this information to your advantage by offering every client the services of your excellent paralegal staff?

Clients who retain you are seeking to rely on you and your staff. Clients are aware that your availability to them is costly. So delegate. When dealing with a paralegal, clients see up close how the appropriate time and attention has been given to their case. This helps clients feel confident about your firm’s legal services, and also helps to form a strong relationship between the client and your firm. Moreover, the paralegal’s close interaction with the client can help you understand all aspects of the case better. Without such personal attention, clients may feel overlooked and apprehensive about seeking your help with additional matters.

Benefits to the Paralegal

Paralegals, as evidenced by their choice of profession, enjoy challenging jobs. With increased interaction with you, a paralegal will be able to perform varied tasks, and decrease your workload substantially. According to a recent study by National Association of Legal Assistants, the tasks of assisting clients, drafting correspondence and pleadings, research, case management and document analysis are the aspects of the legal profession preferred by paralegals. Again, delegation makes sense, so that your expertise can be utilized for revenue production.

By taking advantage of the suggested benefits listed above, you can not only streamline your office, but you will also find that you have the time (and energy) required to look for new avenues of growth.