Overtime Laws

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Employer Coverage

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is a Federal law that mandates certain labor standards, including minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping, and the employment of children under the age of 16. The Act applies to employers with (at least two) 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.

Generally, an enterprise must make not less than $500,000 in annual dollar volume of business to fall within the provisions of the FLSA. However, some enterprises are nonetheless covered regardless of dollar volume. These include: 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.

Even employees of employers that do not meet the $500,000 annual dollar volume may still be covered. These employees may be covered in any workweek during which 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 goods for interstate commerce. In addition, employees who fall under the category of “domestic service worker” (such as cooks, housekeepers, and full-time babysitters) are generally covered by the Act as well.

Employee Coverage

The FLSA requires that most employees in the United States be paid not less than the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a single workweek. While most employees are covered under the FLSA, some are not.

In order to receive FLSA protection, employees must be (1) covered by the Act, and (2) not specifically excluded or exempt from coverage. Some occupations are excluded entirely from FLSA coverage pursuant to the Act itself. Other jobs are excluded because they are governed by an entirely different set of laws. For example, most railroad employees are governed by the Railway Labor Act—not the FLSA.

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