What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains well-known American labor law standards regarding minimum wage, overtime pay and child labor, among others.

How Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Work?

The FLSA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor. The FLSA establishes a federal minimum wage and provides the standards for overtime pay (currently 150% of a worker's regular wage rate for all hours over 40 in a workweek).

The FSLA is also instrumental in regulating how much children can work. Other than agricultural related work, children must be at least 16 years old to work in most jobs. There are also restrictions what kind of work children under the age of 16 can do. Those jobs that are deemed too hazardous by the Secretary of Labor require workers be at least 18 years of age.

The Department of Labor enforces the Act through administrative procedures or through legal action. It has the power to recover wages for workers who have been underpaid according to figures stated in the FLSA. The Labor Department can also fine employers who are in violation of the stated labor laws. Penalties up to $100,000 can be assed depending on the nature, severity and frequency of the violations committed.

[For more specific information regarding fair labor standards, check out the Department of Labor website.]

Why Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Matter?

Workers’ rights are fundamental to the overall well-being of an economy. The FLSA guarantees basic rights and aims to provide fair pay and a safe work environment for all workers in America, regardless of race, age, sex and/or nationality.