·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


Know Your Rights: Understanding FLSA

— June 27, 2023

It covers policies for disabled employees, nursing mothers, and many others.

Throughout history, workers have struggled for better working conditions and fair compensation for their time and efforts. At the same time, most were not even aware of what rights they had and how they should be treated. Blindly following the instructions of their employers, many even lost their lives working in poor workplaces and hazardous sites. 

There was a dire need for a framework that could provide a set of regulations and policies that could bring some order and make the life of workers better, giving them a voice and valuing them for their efforts. FLSA rules play a significant role in achieving that aim. It provided the guidelines to safeguard the rights of every worker. So, what does FLSA stand for and what change it brought? Let’s dig in and find out more.

What is FLSA?

FLSA meaning Fair Labor Standards Act It is a federal labor law that was enacted in the United States back in 1938. The law establishes and safeguards the standards and rights for workers revolving around minimum wages, child labor, recordkeeping, and overtime pay. 

FLSA brought a shift in the lives of workers by setting a minimum wage that every organization must comply with. It ensures workers get fair compensation for their hard work. Apart from this, FLSA addresses the employment of minors. It sets a minimum eligibility to keep minors safe from getting involved in laborious jobs as they deserve to be considered and treated as a child. It aims to protect the living standards and health of young individuals from getting exploited at the workplace and thus make sure they get the right position within the industries. 

Most Promising FLSA Regulations

FLSA has been providing the most comprehensive regulations and policies. It has targeted different scenarios and laid policies for each. Mentioning conditions with proper commands, the federal law has been ruling for decades and has an effective reputation within the industries. In addition, FLSA encourages employers to provide their workers with adequate safety training programs to ensure safety of your workplace.

Here are some of the key FLSA classifications that it has been working on: 

FLSA Minimum Wage:

On July 24th, 2009, FLSA set the minimum wage of covered, nonexempt workers at $7.25 per hour. The policy has not yet changed and is followed the same. It provided a special provision to employees belonging to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. Not only this, FLSA also instructs employers to ensure a proper schedule for disbursements of payments. 

There must not be any delay or trouble for the employees to encounter. Deductions from the pay on account of lost/damaged merchandise or employer-required uniforms should not go less than the minimum pay. It’s not legal, and employers should follow the policy. 

Youth Minimum Wage

Salvation Army Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged Wages Due
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

To help youngsters step into the industries, FLSA sets rules with a minimum wage for employees under 20. They are entitled to be paid at a minimum of $4.25 an hour. However, FLSA also discourages employers from terminating any other worker to hire a youngster. It also prohibits employers from carrying out partial displacements or reducing wages. 

Overtime Pay

FLSA sets the criteria for the minimum overtime wages of employees. The eligible employees can receive at least one and a half times their regular pay rate for all the extra hours. Even though there are no restrictions on the number of work hours for employees, they are to be paid proper compensation for the extra hours worked. 

Child Labor Provisions

To discourage child labor and to protect the educational opportunities of minors, FLSA has regulated policies to safeguard children under the age of 16. The policies include restrictions on hours of work for minors and list down hazardous occupations to protect them from detrimental mental and overall health issues. The policy declared by the Secretary of Labor clearly instructs about the worksites and jobs that can be dangerous for minors. 

  1. For Non-Farm Jobs Restrictions:

In the pretext of child labor, FLSA’s regulations for non-farm jobs include:

  • Youths 18 years or older are allowed to perform any job. 
  • Minors of age 16 or younger should perform only nonhazardous jobs with a limited time frame. 
  • Minors of age 14 or younger are allowed to work after school in various non manufacturing and nonhazardous jobs for not more than 3 hours a day. 
  1. Farm Jobs 

Here are the permissible jobs and hours of work for Farm-jobs for minors. 

  • Minors 15 or older are allowed to perform any job with unlimited time of work. 
  • Minors 14 or older can only perform nonhazardous jobs after school. 
  • Minors 12 or older are allowed to work in any nonhazardous workflow after school. 


FLSA, to ensure fair compensation and utmost transparency, introduced recordkeeping. According to this, employees and employers were instructed to maintain books of their monthly payouts. There should be a clock set to ensure timely disbursement and prompt evaluation. The records should contain personal information, hours and day worked, total daily and weekly hours, and a history of deduction with proper reasoning. 

About FLSA Duties Test

FLSA has rules for both covered or exempted employees, whether it’s about the minimum payout or the part-time pay rate criteria. Hence, to make sure it performs an accurate evaluation for granting rights to the workers, FLSA introduces some duties tests. The Fair Labor Standards Act evaluates if the employee falls into the white-collar exemption categories that include administrative, executive, or certain computer skills jobs. 

Back in 2022, on October 13, the Department of Labor published a news article under the heading Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The policy was repurposed to make the clause more relevant. It sets some improvised criteria to evaluate which employees should be covered and who does not. 

Wrap Up 

The Fair Labor Standards Act has widened its horizon to cater to and safeguard the rights of employees. It covers policies for disabled employees, nursing mothers, and many others. Where it shares regulations related to minimum wages and child labor, it also raises voices against different genders.

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