The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards for employment.
The regulations created to enforce those provisions span several hundred pages, so there's a lot of potential for misinterpretation and non-compliance. FLSA violations commonly involve failing to record all hours worked and wrongly classifying employees as exempt from overtime.
Nearly all employees are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Along with most state laws, the Act simply defines an employee as someone who is "employed by an employer."
The FLSA does recognize a few non-employee classifications, such as volunteers for charitable organizations, independent contractors, and interns who come to the workplace for their own educational benefit. If an individual does not fit one of these non-employee categories, the worker is probably an employee.
News & FAQs
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Minimum wage, salary level for exempt employees likely going up 4/1/22
- Federal court reinstates previous independent contractor rule – a win for employers (for now) 3/23/22
- DOL final rule: FLSA tipped employee regulations amended 12/31/20
- Employees lose FLSA argument over pay, including overtime 2/3/20
- More overtime rule changes proposed! 11/11/19
- DOL tips its hand on tip sharing and credit rules 10/8/19
- DOL sets salary level at $35,568 for final overtime rule 9/30/19
- $35,308 the proposed overtime threshold 3/11/19
FLSA stands for the Fair Labor Standards Act – the federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards for full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. Some states have worker protections that exceed federal standards.
No. Most workers in the United States are entitled to the applicable state or federal minimum wage, and overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek. There are some workers who are not subject to one or both of these provisions. Typically, the employer bears the burden of proving that an exemption applies.
Employees may be classified as exempt or non-exempt. The non-exempt status is the default and simply means the employee is entitled to minimum wage and overtime. However, the regulations provide exemptions from minimum wage, overtime or both for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and certain computer employees. Employers are responsible for proving an employee is exempt.
Fines for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act increased on January 16, 2021.
Penalties now in effect:
- $2,074 for each repeated or willful violation of minimum wage or overtime laws
- $13,227 for a child labor law violation
- $60,115 for a child labor law violation resulting in serious injury or death
- $120,230 for a willful or repeated child labor violation resulting in serious injury or death
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