Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) laws & HR compliance analysis

By hrlineup | 17.12.2019

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the law that regulates the minimum wage, overtime, equal pay, record keeping and child labor for employees including local and state government employees. These laws are also called Federal Wage and Hour Law and are enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S Department of Labor.

FLSA laws apply in all the US states but it permits states to regulate areas that have not been covered by FLSA so as to give all workers greater protection. In case of a conflict between state law and FLSA, employers are allowed to follow the provision that is more in favor of the employees for full flsa compliance.

FLSA does not regulate all employment practices; there are those areas it has not covered, for instance vacations, holidays, severance or sick pay; meal or rest periods; time off for holidays or vacations; premium pay for weekend or holiday work; pay raises or fringe benefits; and discharge notices including reason for discharge, or immediate payment of final wages to terminated employees.

FLSA has remained considerably unchanged for over 50 years and even so, compliance with the laws in place can be a daunting task for many employers. Today, almost every state has its own wage and hour law, which describes a similar and sometimes a different hourly wage than what is described by the FLSA. Sometimes these laws do not follow the exemptions that have been afforded by the FLSA.

It has been noted that state laws are more generous to employees especially when it comes to minimum wage requirements and full hr compliance is required. To fully comply with the federal fair labor standards act changes, employers should compare both federal and state laws and adhere to the one that is more favorable to employees as explained above.

Most employers are required to only pay the federal or state minimum wage. However, those employers with certain federal or state contracts, grants, subsidies or loans or those whose business is of a certain size or in a certain locality may be required to pay a prevailing or living wage, the one that will be higher. Prevailing wages are for those employers with federal contracts or state government contracts. These types of wages are usually higher than the federal or state minimum wage rates.

Living wage decrees on the other hand are those initiatives that are aimed at strengthening the local economy as well as protect local workers by setting a minimum wage that meet or exceed the poverty level. These apply to employers with certain kinds of local or state government contracts or subsidies, loans and grants and in some cases may apply to all employers in a certain locality.

It is important to note that FLSA is a very complex legislation that does not stand on its own; it is usually complimented by an equally complex set of federal regulations. HRs are for instance required to have the knowhow of flsa overtime rule to determine whether an employee meets the requirements for overtime eligibility, and if so, how their overtime payment should be calculated to comply with the fair labor standards act.