The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to the current minimum wage. Overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek. The FLSA is in the United States Code, at 29 U.S.C. §201. And the relevant rules and regulations are in the Code of Federal Regulations, at 29 C.F.R. §510 to 29 C.F.R. §794.
Wages required by the FLSA are due on the regular payday for the pay period covered. Deductions made from wages for such items as cash or merchandise shortages, employer-required uniforms, and tools of the trade, are not legal to the extent that they reduce the wages of employees below the minimum rate required by the FLSA or reduce the amount of overtime pay due under the FLSA.
Covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours—seven consecutive 24-hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.
Hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.
The FLSA contains some exemptions from these basic standards. Some apply to specific types of businesses; others apply to specific kinds of work.
States and municipalities (cities) may also have minimum wage laws. These state and municipal laws are enforceable if they require a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage—but would not be enforceable if they require a lower minimum wage than the federal minimum wage. In other words, the federal minimum wage law preempts or supersedes state and municipal laws that are in conflict with the federal law if the state and municipal laws attempt to require a lower minimum wage.