Of all the federal labor laws on the books today, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (abbreviated as FLSA; also referred to as the Wages and Hours Bill) is the most pervasive and impactful for both employers and employees alike. The FLSA is a federal statute of the United States. The FLSA introduced the forty-hour 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”, a term that is defined in the statute. It applies to employees engaged in interstate commerce or employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, unless the employer can claim an exemption from coverage.
The FLSA was originally drafted in 1932 by Senator Hugo Black, who was later appointed to the Supreme Court in 1937. However, Black’s proposal to require employers to adopt a thirty-hour workweek met stiff resistance. In 1938 a revised version of Black’s proposal was passed that adopted an eight-hour day and a forty-hour workweek and allowed workers to earn wage for an extra four hours of overtime as well. According to the act, workers must be paid minimum wage and overtime pay must be one-and-a-half times regular pay. Children under eighteen cannot do certain dangerous jobs, and children under the age of sixteen cannot work during school hours. The FLSA affected 700,000 workers, and President Franklin Roosevelt called it the most important piece of New Deal legislation since the Social Security Act of 1935.
Since that time (1938), there have been more than one-hundred (100) additional amendments added to the Act all authored by different congressional legislators. And, few, if any, of these members of Congress bothered to “coordinate”, research or study past amendments before enacting their respective amendments. Consequently, just this one very important piece of legislation (a federal statute) has become so cumbersome and confusing…that it requires legal professionals and law enforcement personnel to begin to understand the full import of all of its various nuances and meanings.
That’s where Federal Labor Law Consultants comes in. We understand the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. We understand how and why investigations are conducted. We understand how investigative resources are assigned and utilized within Wage and Hour’s authority. And, those are important advantages that make a significant difference in helping employers obtain, maintain and sustain compliance with a myriad of federal labor laws (FLSA, FMLA, MSPA, Davis Bacon, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contracts Act , Child Labor, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, etc.) in a cost-effective manner.
Stop guessing about federal labor laws…or getting second-hand information from family, friends or colleagues. Often that second-hand information is incorrect and many employers who have been investigated by US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division can attest to that fact.
Randolph (Randy) E. Whitmire
Federal Wage & Hour Investigator- Retired
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