Overview: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was enacted in 1938, during the depths of the Great Depression. Its goal was to lift the nation back into prosperity by spreading the workload among more workers, thereby alleviating unemployment, and by giving consumers more spending money, thereby spurring the economy.
To accomplish those goals, the law established two main requirements for employers:
Although the Great Depression has passed, the law continues to challenge employers. Few employers set out to deliberately violate FLSA regulations. Rather, most violations are the result of common mistakes, such as:
Employers also often get tripped up by variations between the FLSA regulations and state wage and hour laws. Sometimes the differences can be subtle; other times, they can be significant. But whatever the difference, employers must always comply with whichever law is more favorable to the employee.
Trends: The chances of getting away with noncompliance seem to get increasingly slim with every passing year.
Thousands of lawsuits are filed under the FLSA every year, more than any other federal employment law other than the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). At the same time, the U.S. Department of Labor continues to enforce the FLSA regulations aggressively.
The potential liability for noncompliance can be costly, including back wages, attorney fees and civil penalties.
These damages are often multiplied by hundreds or even thousands of employees, since it is relatively easy for large groups of employees to file collective actions under the FLSA. This results in settlements or verdicts that can easily add up to millions of dollars for larger employers.
Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor
For the time being, employers will no longer need to comply with the US Department of Labor's overtime rule, which had been scheduled to take effect December 1, 2016. However, there remains a possibility the rule could be resurrected.
President Trump moved quickly to fill the Secretary of Labor role, nominating Alexander (Alex) Acosta less than 24 hours after his first nominee, Andrew Puzder, withdrew when it appeared he did not have the votes to be confirmed by the Senate. Acosta would be the first Latino member of Trump's cabinet if confirmed.
Enhanced to improve comprehensiveness with the addition of the minimum wage ordinance in Los Altos.
Enhanced to improve comprehensiveness with the addition of the minimum wage ordinance in Bangor.
Updated to reflect the finalized 2017 annual inflation adjustment to Santa Fe's minimum wage.
The US Supreme Court will wait to hear a trio of mandatory arbitration cases involving class action waivers in employment until its next term, which does not begin until October. The delay makes it more likely that Supreme Court nominee Neal Gorsuch, if confirmed, will be in a position to cast a possible decisive vote.
Updated to reflect technical assistance from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries requiring payment of daily overtime for employees in mills, factories or manufacturing establishments on top of weekly overtime.
The US Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule that increases penalties assessed after January 13, 2017, for violations that occurred after November 2, 2015.
The workplace is evolving at a rapid-fire pace amidst technological, societal and cultural changes and employers need to be ready to meet these changes. So what are the top compliance issues to watch out for in 2017?
HR guidance on complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Support on following all the complex FLSA regulations and standards.