FLSA at 80
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 is a law in the United States enacted to protect workers against unfair pay practices and work regulations. To this end, it establishes a number of labor codes of practice which deal with interstate employment which includes; minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.
Memphis Overtime Lawyer Explains the FLSA
Before the advent of the FLSA, employees often worked inhumanely long hours to earn meager wages. This reached a climax during the period of the great depression. As the Depression ensued, firms implemented substantial wage rate cuts and laid off numerous workers.
Even in the face of low wages, employees (children inclusive) persisted long hours of work in unfair conditions. In short, employees were exposed to very terrible experience until the FLSA came in 1938. Little wonder why President Roosevelt who signed it into law referred to it as “the most far-reaching program for the benefit of workers here or in any other country – after the Social Security Act”.
As an employer, FLSA is one of the most important laws you need to understand because it contains a wide range of regulations as regards dealing with your employees. It stipulates when workers are on paid hours or not.
The FLSA requires you to pay overtime at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for an employee who works more than 40 hours within a seven-day work week. This is popularly referred to as “time-and-a-half”. It contains rich provisions on whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt from Fair labor standards overtime regulation.
Exempt and Non-Exempt Workers
One of the key highlights of the FLSA which has stood the test of time is the division of employees into two categories: exempt and Non-exempt. Non-exempt workers are a category of employees entitled to overtime pay and minimum wage as described in the act while Exempt employees are excluded from minimum wage, overtime regulations, and other rights and protections afforded non-exempt worker.
The Minimum Wage
Effective 24th of July 2009, the federal minimum wage stands at 7.25 USD per hour. Since many states also have minimum wage laws, where an employee is subject to both federal and state minimum wage laws, he or she is entitled to whichever is higher.
How Far? So Far…
Today, the FLSA has clocked 80 years of age. Since it was passed in 1938, the FLSA has witnessed numerous amendments from 1949 – where oppressive child labor was prohibited and new exemptions for special worker classes were made, 1955 – where the minimum wage was increased from 75 cents per hour to 1 USD per hour and the number of employees covered by the minimum wage was increased, 1961 – where enterprise coverage was introduced and the minimum wage was again increased to 1.25 USD per hour, 1966 – where coverage was given to local and state government employees for the first time, 1985, 1986, 1989, 2004, 2016 – which expanded eligibility among others.
Employment has been found to be a core aspect of the lives of a vast number of citizens in the United States. On the face, Statutes which affects the core of people’s lives should not be lifeless. Also, the changes and amendments made to them should reflect the yearnings which will boost net productivity on the state.
Hence, even with the already existing number of amendments, the FLSA still needs a great deal of filling in many areas. Some of the most notable areas which the FLSA through its ages should have updated are;
- The Outside Sales exemption: This is yet another area of contention which should be looked into. In the past, when the outside sales exemption started, most salesmen operated door-to-door and hence, were outside for all or most of time but with advancement in technology, these days, the majority of sales are made and sales work are done from a computer or a telephone, inside the employer’s place of business.
However, the regulations still provide that the salesman be “customarily and regularly” performing outside sales work which has phased out as a result of advancement.
- Universal Minimum Wage: Pegging a minimum wage reflective of all industries is an issue with the FLSA till date. Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has been pinned at 7.25 USD per hour. In recent years, there has been a steady narrative about a 15 USD minimum wage.
One obvious fact is that implementing such an enormous rise in the minimum wage nationally seems unlikely. As the Department of Labor discovered in crafting the final rule regarding changes to the FLSA overtime exemptions, determining what is reasonable across all industries and regions of the United States is not an easy task but must be done. However, at 7.25 USD per hour, it’s questionable whether a full-time worker in any corner of the nation can actually live on the minimum wage.
- Cheap and easy resolution is another aspect of the FLSA which calls for filling in.
- General Clarifications: As the FLSA grows, reasonable clarification still needs to be dome to key areas which brings about inconsistencies.
FLSA Rules and Compliance
The administration of the FLSA is done by the Employment Standards Administration’s Wage and Hour Division within the U.S. Department of Labor.
As an employer, if you want to stay out of the trouble of the Department of Labor, you have to make sure you have classified employees in the correct manner and that you are paying employees in jobs that should be non-exempt, overtime pay as due.
What can a Memphis overtime lawyer do for you?
Recently, an increased number of companies have committed utter disregard for both the FLSA and state wage and hour laws. Companies require their employees to work more than 40 hours per week without being paying them overtime.
The most recent statistics gathered by the U.S. Department of Labor found violations of the FLSA in a gross 78% of the cases investigated. The clear reason for this is that wages and hours violation permeates a vast majority of industries.
As an employee, your employer has no excuse to not abide by the FLSA. Many companies believe shortchanging employees can help protect their bottom line, but violating the FLSA has serious consequences. So, if you feel your employer has violated the FLSA, it is important you immediately contact an experienced employment law attorney because there is a high likelihood you are not the only one who is been treated unfairly.