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What is the FLSA?

20402330The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

FLSA, which stands for the Fair Labor Standards Act, is a law that protects workers from workplace violations and practices related to wages and pay. The law created regulations that affect businesses and workers, including minimum wage guidelines and rules about overtime. In addition to wages, the FLSA also gives an explanation of what exempt and non-exempt means as it applies to employees and overtime.

The law was originally passed in 1938 but has been updated over the years to better suit the modern workforce.

Defining Overtime

The FLSA established the “time and a half” rule, which requires all employees working beyond 40 hours in a seven day work week to be paid at one and a half times their normal hourly rate of pay. This means if someone typically makes $16 per hour, he or she would receive $24 per hour for every hour worked beyond 40 hours.

So, for instance, if this worker, assuming he or she is non-exempt, works 45 hours during a Monday to Friday work week, he or she would receive, before taxes and other deductions are taken from his or paycheck, $760 for that week ($640 regular pay and $120 overtime pay.)

It should be noted, the FLSA only applies to employees. This means those who are working as independent contractors or those who are volunteering their time are not protected by the laws in the FLSA.

There are also additional requirements that employers must meet in order for employees to be protected by the FLSA. For instance, they must have at least $500,000 a year in gross sales or other business.

What’s the Difference between Exempt and Non-Exempt?

The terms exempt and non-exempt come up often in the workplace. If you are an exempt employee, you might not benefit from all of the protections provided by the FLSA.

For example, exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay at the rate of 1.5% their usual hourly rate. Exempt employees are usually paid a salary which may or may not take into account how often he or she will work more than 40 hours in a work week.

There are also other examples in specific industries in which hourly employees do not receive protection from the FLSA. For example, some industries have established other laws that govern how employees and their wages are handled, such as the Railway Labor Act for railroad workers.

If you have questions or concerns, you can speak to your human resources department to determine which FLSA protections apply to you.

Wages and Tips

The FLSA has also established guidelines for how workers who earn money through tips are treated.

If an employee earns at least $30 per month from tips his or her employer is obligated to meet minimum wage requirements in combination with these tips. If an employee’s tips do not equal at least what he or she would earn from the minimum per hour wage required by the state or city, the employer must make up the difference.

To read more about minimum wage laws and how they apply to tipped employees in New York, check out this information from Nolo.com. New York City has a higher minimum wage rate than the one set by the state and the Federal government and this higher local minimum wage rate takes precedence over the lower rates.

To learn more about minimum wage laws or to speak to someone about the FLSA, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C.

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