What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?
The Fair Labor Standards Act 1938 (also referred to as the Wages and Hours Bill), was designed to eliminate labor conditions that led to low standards of living, as well as protect workers by allowing for a fair minimum starting wage and a maximum work week. The purpose was to prevent exploitation by employers, something that had run rampant during the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2007, the Fair Labor Standard Act was overhauled by Congress, allowing the minimum wage to increase, while allowing states to create their own minimum wage as long as it was not below the federal wage. The act also introduced a maximum 44-hour, seven-day work week, established a national minimum wage, guaranteed “time-and-a-half” for overtime in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors in “oppressive child labor”. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers must be paid minimum wage and overtime pay must be one-and-a-half time’s regular pay.
Most Fair Labor Standard Act litigation, like the act itself, is meant to protect workers and usually originates when an employer unlawfully lowers the amount of money he or she is responsible to pay his or her employee. Such unlawful acts include when an employer mischaracterizes an employee as a manager to avoid paying overtime wages, having employees work “off the clock” to save costs, or even adjusting work times of employees to reflect when the employee shift starts rather than when the employees check in. In cases like these, the employee should be aware not only that they are given these rights and protections under the law, but that that the missed time can add up to a significant amount of money over time.
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