One of the major objectives of the Labor laws is to ensure that discrimination does not happen to employers at the workplace and their interests and welfare remains safeguarded. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ensures that the employees are not exploited by their employers by forcing them for undue work at low wages.
The FLSA establishes various work related parameters like minimum wages, work hours, overtime payment, record keeping an child labor. The employer has to follow these standards strictly. In this way, the FLSA ensures that the employee is paid fairly for his work and is not subjected to heavy work without compensating it with a rate stated in the Act. This promotes employee satisfaction and a better workplace environment and culture. Though this act is enforced by the Federal agency, States are also eligible to frame their own laws related to aspects covered under the FLSA.
The FLSA is a mandatory law and needs posters to be displayed at workplace at suitable locations for information of the employees.
Provisions of the FLSA
The provisions of the FLSA cover all employees under private, Federal, State and local government bodies.
The minimum wage is established at $7.25 per hour and all the covered non-exempt employees has to be paid a minimum of $7.25 per hour. Employees below 20 years of age have to be paid $4.25 for the first 90 days of the employment. In cases, when both the Federal and State minimum wages are applicable to an employer, the higher wage has to be paid.
Even though compliance posters of both Federal and State agencies have to be displayed. Under the Equal Pay Act, discrimination in pay should not be on gender basis if both do the same job under similar skill, effort, responsibility and work conditions.
The work hours in a workweek are limited to 40 hours in a recurring period of 168 hours. This work time has to be compensated at regular rate of minimum wage. Any work done by the employee over this time is known as overtime and has to be compensated at 1.5 times the regular wage. The work hours are not limited to employees aged more than 16 years. Work done on holidays cannot be treated as overwork unless overtime is done on these days.
The FLSA also clearly defines work hours leaving no traces of doubt in its interpretation. Work hour broadly includes all the time employee is present in the employer premises or at workplace due to his duty. This includes meal time and the time an employee has to travel. Though time incurred while transition between home and workplace cannot be treated as work time.
Record keeping is mandatory as per the FLSA and the employer is required to maintain all the required data of employees and their daily report status, etc. Posters highlighting the provisions of the FLSA should be displayed at the workplace in places where they are easily accessible to the employees.
The FLSA also establishes Child Labor laws to ensure that their right to education and interests are not violated. Children under 12 years of age cannot be employed for work. Children between 12-16 years of age can be employed for a limited number of hours only. Those who are aged 16-18 years can be employed in non-hazardous environments for unlimited number of hours. When an employer is also subjected to State child labor laws, the laws of the State are generally more stringent than Federal laws.
Nature of compliance
The FLSA is a mandatory law and covers all the private, Federal, State and local government bodies. The general compliance is expected in the form of following the rules and provisions of the FLSA and displaying of posters by the employer at places where they are easily accessible to the employees. Employees are free to complaint to the agencies directly in case of non-compliance. Non-compliance can draw heavy fines and penalties.
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