Employers Resource

What is FLSA?

FLSA stands for Fair Labor Standards Act. According to the United States Department of Labor, it “establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.”  

It was originally drafted in 1932 by Senator Hugo Black before a revised version was eventually adopted in 1938. The act has gone through numerous updates, amendments, and rule changes in the years since, but still serves as an extension of its original primary purpose of protecting workers’ rights.

What exactly do you need to know about FLSA, though? To better inform you of your obligations from FLSA, we are going to run through its major points.

Exempt vs. Non-exempt Employees

Certain aspects of FLSA, specifically minimum wage and overtime rules, are not applicable to employees classified as exempt. We have previously covered the differences between exempt and non-exempt employee classifications. For more information on these classifications, read our articles on how to classify employees, as well as the status of recent updates to FLSA’s overtime rule.


Minimum Wage

FLSA sets a minimum wage of $7.25/hour for applicable, non-exempt workers. This is the most straightforward of FLSA’s regulations. However, there are state-specific statutes that may supercede the $7.25/hour rule, so it is vital to know if these exist in your state. There are other exemptions as well, specifically for certain industries.

Overtime Pay

FLSA also states that non-exempt workers must be paid at an overtime rate of one and one-half times their regular rate for time worked past 40 hours in one workweek.

For instance, if a non-exempt employee makes $10/hour, and they work 50 hours in one week, they would be paid at their usual $10/hour rate for the first 40 hours, then $15/hour for the remaining 10 hours. This equates to a gross weekly income of $400 from the first 40 hours, plus $150 for the 10 hours of overtime, totaling $550 gross weekly income.  

Equal Pay

The FLSA’s equal pay provisions prohibits sex-based differences in wage between men and women:

  • Employed in the same establishment.
  • Performing jobs that require equal:
    • Skill.
    • Effort.
    • Responsibility.
  • Performing jobs under similar working conditions.


FLSA specifies what records employers must keep. In general, it requires that they be kept in the following areas:

  1. Personal information, including employee’s name, home address, occupations, sex, and birthdate (if under 19 years old).
  2. Hour and day when workweek begins.
  3. Total hours worked each workday and each workweek.
  4. Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings.
  5. Regular hourly pay rate for any week when overtime is worked.
  6. Total overtime pay for the workweek.
  7. Deductions from, or additions to wages.
  8. Total wages paid each pay period.
  9. Date of payment and pay period covered.

There are additional and varying recordkeeping requirements for exempt employees, homeworkers, employees working under uncommon pay arrangements, employees for whom lodging and/or other facilities are furnished, and employees receiving remedial education.

Child Labor Standards

One of FLSA’s major points is to outline labor standards for child workers under 18 years of age. There are differing regulations for agricultural and nonagricultural work outlined by these standards.


Non-Agricultural Child Labor
Age  18+  16-17  14-15 Any Age
Hazardous Jobs  Yes  No  No No
Non-Hazardous Jobs  Yes  Yes Various non-manufacturing, non-mining jobs under certain hours-limiting conditions.
  • 14 is minimum age for most non-farm work, however, at any age minors may:
    • Deliver newspapers.
    • Perform in radio, television, movie, or theatrical productions.
    • Work for parent(s) in their solely owned non-farm business (except mining, manufacturing, or hazardous jobs).
    • Gather evergreens and make evergreen wreaths.
Hours Unlimited Unlimited
  • No more than:
    • 3 hours on a school night.
    • 18 hours in a school week.
    • 8 hours on a non-school day.
    • 40 hours in a non-school week.
  • Not begin before 7 a.m. or end after 7 p.m.
    • Except from 6/1 through Labor Day, when evening limit is extended until 9 p.m.


Agricultural Child Labor
Age 16+ 14-15 12-13 Under 12 Any Age
Hazardous Yes No No No
Non-Hazardous Yes Yes Yes, with either:

  • A parent’s written consent.
  • On the same farm as the parent(s).
Yes, with either:

  • On a farm owned or operated by parent(s).
  • A parent’s written consent.

Or on farms not covered by minimum wage requirements.

Minors of any age may be employed by their parents in any occupation owned or operated by their parents.
Hours Unlimited Outside school hours Outside school hours Outside school hours
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