Employment Discrimination Blog

Monday, September 11, 2017

What Does the Fair Labor Standards Act Cover?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes the national minimum wage, record-keeping requirements, overtime pay obligations, and child labor restrictions. While most states have a state version of this law, the FSLA affects every state throughout the nation. Employers are required to comply with both state and federal wage and employment laws, where they conflict, the federal law will “trump.”

Only employers who have annual sales of $500,000 or more or those who are engaged in an activity that could be considered interstate commerce must comply with the FLSA. This definition is extremely broad, however. For example, courts have decided that even small companies that regularly use the U.S. mail to send or receive letters from people or businesses in other states are engaged in interstate commerce. With the increase in online goods and services, more and more companies will fall under the FLSA’s laws.

Violations of the FLSA

Violations of this federal law can result in monetary penalties for the employer. In fact, it could affect a business’s ability to function in the future as well. For example, if there is a widespread wage violation, the Department of Labor may begin a civil litigation against the employer to recover wages that should have been paid under the law. In some circumstances, violations can even result in criminal sanctions.

Minimum Wage Standards Under the FLSA

Under the FLSA, workers must be paid a minimum of $7.25 per hour. However, workers in Georgia have a minimum wage of $5.15 per hour. That means that the employers that are not covered by the FLSA are only required to pay their employees $5.15 per hour. For those who claim tips as part of their wages, their minimum hourly wage is $2.13 under the federal law.

Overtime pay is also defined within the FLSA. Employees who work over 40 hours in one week should generally be paid one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for those hours over and above 40.

The FLSA also sets out restrictions regarding child labor. Only those 14 and older are permitted to work. Youths who are 14 and 15 years old have specific restrictions regarding how many hours they can work in a given day that vary based on whether it is a school day or not. They must also not work earlier or later than 7 p.m. unless it is between June 1 and Labor Day, then the hours are extended to 9 p.m.

Exceptions to the FLSA

The FLSA is filled with exceptions and exemptions for both employers and employees. For example, certain industries are entirely exempt from this federal law. Certain salaried employees may not have to deal with minimum wage laws or overtime benefits as well.

It may not be clear right away whether the protections in the FLSA will apply to your unique situation. If you think your rights are being violated, it is a good idea to speak with an employment attorney about any potential legal claim that you may have. Call 770-670-6250 for more information.


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