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Understanding the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2021 | Employment Law

As an employer, one of your main responsibilities is to ensure your employees are paid fairly and in accordance with all state and federal laws. One of the most prominent federal wage laws that most employers are required to adhere to is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which implements minimum wage, overtime, and other wage and hour standards that impact many employees.

Who is covered by the FLSA?

Generally, if you are an employer in the United States, you can assume that your business is most likely covered by the FLSA. The FLSA applies to any business engaged in interstate commerce with yearly sales of $500,000 or more.

However, determining which employees are covered by FLSA regulations can be more challenging. Employers must properly classify each employee as exempt or non-exempt. Employees that are classified as non-exempt generally are covered by the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions, while exempt employees are not. To qualify as exempt, an employee most likely must be paid on a salary basis, receive a minimum of $35,568 per year (as of January 1, 2020), and perform exempt job duties under one of the following categories:

  • Executive
  • Administrative
  • Professional
  • Computer
  • Outside sales

FLSA requirements

Covered employers must ensure that all non-exempt employees receive the pay they are owed pursuant to the requirements of the FLSA. Some of the most significant FLSA requirements are:

  • Minimum wage – The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, but New York’s Minimum Wage Act provides employees with a minimum wage ranging from $12.50 to $15 per hour (as of December 31, 2020). Employees subjected to both federal and state minimum wage laws are entitled to the higher of the two rates.
  • Overtime – Nonexempt workers are entitled to one and one-half their rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours per week.
  • Child labor – The FLSA protects children under the age of 16 by restricting the number of hours they are allowed to work hours and preventing them from working in hazardous occupations.
  • Recordkeeping – Employers are required to keep accurate records for non-exempt employees and meet other recordkeeping and reporting criteria.

Employers often find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit for FLSA violations and other wage violations. An employment litigation attorney can help you ensure that your business is adhering to all federal and state wage and hour laws.