Frequently Asked Questions

What is the FLSA?

The FLSA stands for the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is a federal statute that:

  1. Defines the 40-hour workweek
  2. Sets requirements for the payment of overtime premiums
  3. Sets the federal minimum wage
  4. Places restrictions on child labor

Is the FLSA a new law?

No. The FLSA was first enacted in 1938 to give workers certain rights with respect to the wages they are paid. One of the policy considerations driving the FLSA is that it encourages employers to hire more workers by mandating that employers pay their employees time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

What is the current minimum wage?

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

What is overtime?

Under the FLSA, overtime is a premium, payable at 1.5 times the employee's regular rate of pay, paid in addition to an employee's base rate of pay, for all work performed over 40 hours in a workweek. State laws may define overtime differently.

When should I receive overtime?

Under federal law, you should receive overtime compensation for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. State laws may vary.

I get paid a salary, so I don't get overtime, right?

No. Just because you are paid a salary, doesn't mean you shouldn't receive overtime. Most exemptions occur because of an individual's JOB DUTIES, not the manner in which they are paid.

I only get commissions, so I don't get overtime right?

No. Many commissioned employees are entitled to receive overtime.

I'm an independent contractor, so I don't get overtime right?

True independent contractors/1099 workers are not entitled to overtime. However, employers often misclassify workers as independent contractors. The general rule is that employees are entitled to overtime. Again, your job duties will determine your status. If your employer tells you where and when to be, how to do your job, and how you are paid, you may be entitled to overtime.

Can my employer dock my pay?

Under Federal law, employers may deduct from your wages so long as your hourly rate does not fall below the minimum wage. However, some States, such as Kansas, prohibit employers from making deductions from wages that are not for the benefit of the employee.

Can my employer require me to work overtime?

Generally, yes: An employer can require an employee to work overtime.

If I sue for unpaid wages or overtime, should I worry about losing my job?

By law, employers cannot retaliate against an employee who asserts his or her rights to overtime wages. However, employees may have options available other than filing a lawsuit for unpaid wages. Employees should not feel threatened that they may lose their jobs if the contact an attorney or otherwise attempt to assert their rights.

Is there a statue of limitations on wage claims?

The basic statute of limitations for FLSA matters is 2 years. In certain situations, it may be possible to file a claim regarding a case that occurred three or more years ago. Talk to an employment law attorney to find out more.

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