Overview: Laws that establish a minimum wage and establish a threshold of hours beyond which employees must be paid overtime are commonly referred to as "wage and hour" laws.
At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes a minimum wage of $7.25 and generally requires that employees be paid overtime at one and one-half times their regular rate of pay whenever they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Most states also have their own wage and hour laws. Some are almost identical to the FLSA, while others differ significantly, so it is important for employers to pay attention to differences. When there is a conflict, the law that is most beneficial to the employee will apply.
Besides establishing minimum wage and overtime requirements, wage and hour laws also govern what counts as hours worked for which employees must be paid and establish rules for employee classification, which is the process of determining whether an employee qualifies for an exemption from the minimum wage and/or overtime requirements.
Child labor laws also are commonly classified under "wage and hour" because the FLSA sets federal child labor standards, and because state child labor laws typically regulate the hours during which minors are allowed to work.
Trends: Employees continue to win major settlements through collective actions lawsuits filed under the FLSA and state wage and hour laws. The US Department of Labor (DOL) and state labor agencies also have stepped up their enforcement of wage and hour laws, so compliance is more important than ever.
Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect a forthcoming amendment to the overtime exemptions.
Updated to reflect a forthcoming amendment to the minimum wage exemptions.
As mandated by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, covered employers must adopt the New York City Model Lactation Accommodation Policy, or meet or exceed its requirements.
As recommended by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, covered employers should use the New York City Model Lactation Accommodation Request Form.
Updated to reflect a US Department of Labor (DOL) opinion letter concerning civic or charitable work.
An employer may use an employee's time spent volunteering as a factor in calculating whether to pay the employee a bonus, without incurring an obligation to treat that time as hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the US Department of Labor (DOL) reiterated in a new opinion letter.
An employer can use this checklist to develop a plan for complying with the proposed Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rules.
Updated to reflect amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law involving breastfeeding breaks, effective March 18, 2019.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding federal and state wage and hour laws.