Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Guidelines
This federal law was enacted in 1938 to provide relief to families by prohibiting employers from taking advantage of employees, including prohibition of child labor. The law originally applied to interstate commerce, and now applies to most employers, establishing a minimum wage, and ensuring that covered employees are paid for overtime work.
Federal law controls policies, unless a state law is more lenient, in favor of the employees.
Who is Covered by the FLSA?
Jobs are categorized as either "non-exempt" or "exempt" under guidelines established by the FLSA.
A position categorized as non-exempt is covered by the act, and pay is calculated on an hourly basis. Non-exempt positions are entitled to overtime pay, calculated at 1-1/2 times the regular hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 40 in a work week.
Exempt jobs are those which are exempt from overtime provisions of the FLSA. Staff in exempt jobs are paid a fixed salary and hours worked beyond 40 in a work week do not result in additional pay. Full-time staff employed in exempt jobs at the University are expected to work at least 40 hours per week and more as necessary.
- Exempt employees include workers in bona fide executive, administrative, and professional positions.
- Executive positions run the enterprise; they are concerned with planning and strategic goals.
- Administrative positions function to carry out department-oriented goals; they are responsible for ongoing operations.
- Professional positions require formal specialized training or education.
The minimum wage began at $1.00 per hour, and was $1.25 until the early 60s. The current minimum wage for employees is $7.25 per hour.
- see: Overtime Policy
Non-Exempt Hours Worked
Enforcement and Penalties
A court action may be filed against an employer by an employee or the Secretary of Labor. The statute of limitations on enforcement proceedings for unpaid minimum wages and unpaid overtime compensation is two years for non-willful action, and three years for willful action.
The penalties for non-compliance with the FLSA include:
- liability for unpaid minimum wages, plus interest;
- liability for unpaid overtime, plus interest;
- liability for reasonable attorney's fees, (and at the court's discretion, an additional equal amount as liquidated damages for willful violations);
- criminal penalties which may be imposed against employers who willfully violate its provisions.
Retaliation against an employee who files a complaint, or is in any way involved in an FLSA action, is illegal.
Employers covered by this act are required to keep the following information:
- Wage rate tables;
- Work time schedules; and
- Records of employment and earnings to include:
- name, address, sex, and birth date;
- employee's occupation and daily work schedule;
- regular hourly rate of pay for any week in which the employee worked overtime (for non-exempt employees);
- record of hours worked on a daily and weekly basis with total earnings due (for non-exempt employees);
- actual wages paid and deductions taken.
The University maintains this information for three years to accommodate audits by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor.
Employers are required to post notices issued by the Wage & Hour Division of the Department of Labor. Most of these notices involve minimum wage announcements and are posted in the Human Resources area.
The FLSA Does NOT Require employers to:
- limit the number of hours worked by employees 16 years of age or older;
- give pay raises or provide fringe benefits;
- provide vacation, holiday, sick leave, or severance pay;
- provide rest or meal periods or days off;
- provide premium pay for weekend or holiday work;
- provide premium pay for hours worked in excess of eight in a day; or
- provide discharge notice or make payment of wages immediately on termination.