Insight on the Fair Labor Standards Act for Employees

The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) is a federal law that establishes the minimum wage, eligibility for overtime, recordkeeping, and child labor affecting workers in the government as well as those in the private sector. The FLSA introduced a minimum of 8 working hours per day or 40 working hours per week. The act protects from exploitation by the employer and denial of wages as entitled by the law.

Minimum and Overtime wages

The law provides that employers must pay employees at least minimum wage but exceptions do arise. The minimum wage is governed by the federal minimum wage or the state minimum wage. The employer must pay the agreed wage stipulated by a contract between the employer and employee despite the rate exceeding the least minimum wage. People working overtime are entitled to compensation at a higher pay than the regular hourly rate. In many instances, the overtime pay is 150% of the standard hourly rate.

An employee can file a lawsuit against an employer who fails to honor the minimum wage, contractual wage or overtime pay. To recover the damages, the employee can opt to file an administrate claim with the labor department in the respective state or file a lawsuit in a court.

Exemptions from overtime wage

The status of an employee determines whether they are entitled to overtime. Employees classified as 'exempt' do not qualify for overtime pay. Such employees entail salaried staff with supervisory or managerial positions. Examples of positions exempted from overtime pay include managers, executives, professors, scientists, independent contractors, administrators, teachers, and computer specialists.

Tipped Employees

There is an exclusion to the minimum wage bill, which is observed among tipped employees. An employer can pay tipped employees at a rate lower than the stipulated minimum wage under the condition that the cumulative sum of the wage and the employee's tips equal the least minimum wage rate per hour. If the salary offered to the employee together with the tips does not add up to the least minimum wage, the employer pays the difference.

Violations of labor laws are not rare despite the apparent labor regulations. Illegal employment practices include:

  • Misclassification of employees
It often occurs that employees classify their staff as exempt when the same employees are rightfully entitled to overtime pay:

  • Failure to compensate for overtime

  • Requiring employees to work

  • Failure to pay at higher rate for working overtime

  • Inability to pay for downtime
Despite the law stipulating the minimum wage and applicable overtime, many employers underpay their workers. An affected employee can seek the services of a lawyer for unpaid overtime wages who can help the employee recover unpaid wages. This applies to employees who work for over eight hours a day or exceed forty hours a week but fail to be compensated for overtime.

Every employee deserves fair compensation as demanded by the law. Always consult a wage lawyer to answer all your questions concerning payments. If you feel convinced that your employer is engaging in unlawful employment practices, be sure to consult your attorney. You lawyer should help get back pay for all the hours you worked overtime.


Awais Ahmed is a student, blogger and digital marketer who helps small entrepreneurs to improve their online presence. He has a range of interests including technology, apps and small business.

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