FLSA Frequently Asked Questions
What is FLSA, or the Fair Labor Standards Act?
The Fair Labor Standards Act is the Federal law which 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.
What is the federal minimum wage?
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, effective July 24, 2009. Note that many states, and even some local governments, have established their own minimum wage. Covered employees would be entitled to whichever wage is higher.
What is the minimum wage for workers who receive tips?
An employer of a tipped employee is required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the Federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the Federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.
Some states have minimum wage laws specific to tipped employees. When an employee is subject to both the Federal and state wage laws, the employee is entitled to the provisions of each law which provide the greater benefits.
Does the minimum wage and overtime law apply to all workers?
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.
What is overtime pay?
Overtime pay is premium or extra money paid to employees for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Overtime pay must be at least one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for all overtime hours.
When should workers be paid?
Workers are required to receive their wages on the regular payday for the time period worked. State laws generally dictate the frequency of paydays.
Does the law require workers to be paid for such things as vacations, holidays, severance, or sick time?
No, vacations, holidays, severance, or sick time are not required. They are fringe benefits which an employer may choose to provide to employees.
How are vacation pay, sick pay, and holiday pay computed and when are they due?
The FLSA does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or holidays (Federal or otherwise). These benefits are matters of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative). However, state laws may impose some requirements. For instance, some states consider earned vacation to be a "wage" that is owed to the employee and cannot be denied or taken away once it has been earned (i.e., it would have to be paid out to departing employees).
Are employers required to give workers meal, rest, or break periods, holidays off, sick pay, and health and life insurance coverage under the minimum wage law?
Under federal law, it is up to the employee and the employer to agree on any of these things which are called "fringe benefits." Sometimes they are offered to full-time workers but not to part-time workers. State laws may require meal periods or breaks, and even restrict employment on certain holidays.
Should workers receive extra pay for working on weekends and holidays?
Federal law does not require overtime or extra pay for work on weekend days and holidays.
When are pay raises required?
Pay raises are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and employee (or the employee's representative). Pay raises to amounts above the Federal minimum wage are not required by the FLSA.
Are employers required to give notices or reasons for firing workers?
No. Federal law does not require notices or a reason for firing employees.