Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA)

A federal law governing wage and hour law, including the national minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor, and wage and hour record-keeping (29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219). For more information about federal wage and hour law generally, see Practice Note, Wage and Hour Law: Overview (www.practicallaw.com/2-506-0530). The FLSA requires payment of a minimum hourly wage to covered nonexempt (www.practicallaw.com/0-501-9886) employees. For the current federal minimum wage, see the Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor. State minimum wages vary and may be higher than the federal minimum wage. For a list of states' current minimum wages, see Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Minimum Wage Laws in the States. Covered employers must pay covered nonexempt employees at least the greater of the federal or applicable state minimum wage.

The FLSA also requires payment of one and a half times the regular rate of pay to covered nonexempt employees for hours worked over 40 hours per workweek (for more information, see Practice Note, Wage and Hour Law: Overview: Calculating Overtime Correctly (www.practicallaw.com/2-506-0530)). The FLSA addresses child labor as well, capping work hours for children under 16 and restricting work by children in hazardous occupations. It also requires record-keeping related to employees' wage, hour and basic demographic information.

Retaliation (www.practicallaw.com/6-503-9612) is prohibited under the FLSA. For more information on retaliation, see Practice Note: Retaliation (www.practicallaw.com/5-501-1430). The FLSA is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor for nearly all employers (excluding some federal agencies). FLSA claims are often brought by groups of employees, in claims called collective actions. For more information, see Practice Note, Defending Wage and Hour Collective Actions (www.practicallaw.com/9-504-1604).

Generally, the minimum wage, maximum hours, collection of data and child labor law provisions of the FLSA do not apply when the work is performed in a foreign country (29 U.S.C. § 213(f) (2011)). For a list of US territories in which these FLSA provisions do apply, see 29 U.S.C. § 213(f) (2011). As a rule, if a portion of an employee's work during any workweek is performed in the US or a covered territory, the employee is entitled to FLSA rights for the entire workweek (29 C.F.R. § 776.7(b) fn. 20 (2011)).

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