Wage & Hour Disputes

Major source of federal wage law is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) . FLSA which is codified in Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), as amended (29 USC §201 et seq.; 29 CFR Parts 510 to 794) prescribes standards for the basic minimum wage and overtime pay, and affects most private and public employment. The Act is administered by the Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division within the U.S. Department of Labor. The question of who is exempt under the act has been the subject slew of court cases and is still the source huge verdicts and settlements. The Act covers “enterprises” with employees who engage in interstate commerce, produce goods for interstate commerce, or handle, sell, or work on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for interstate commerce. For most firms, a test of not less than $500,000 in annual dollar volume of business applies. However, the Act does cover the following regardless of their dollar volume of business: hospitals; institutions primarily engaged in the care of the sick, aged, mentally ill, or disabled who reside on the premises; schools for children who are mentally, or physically disabled or gifted; preschools, elementary, and secondary schools and institutions of higher education; and federal, state, and local government agencies. Additionally, employees of firms that do not meet the $500,000 annual dollar volume test may be covered in any workweek when they are individually engaged in interstate commerce, the production of goods for interstate commerce, or an activity that is closely related and directly essential to the production of such goods. This last category is referred to as the “individual coverage” as opposed to the “enterprise coverage.” The Act also covers domestic service workers, such as day workers, housekeepers, chauffeurs, cooks, or full time babysitters, if they receive at least $1,300 (2001) in cash wages from one employer in a calendar year, or if they work a total of more than eight hours a week for one or more employers. Department of Labor’s (DLO) website at www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/minwage.htm has a very thorough explanation of the Act and its reach. FLSA’s laws can be enforced either through the department or in a private action. The U.S Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has recently placed a new FLSA Calculator on its website. The FLSA Calculator can help employers and employees better understand and calculate overtime pay. http://www.dol.gov/elaws/otcalculator.htm