The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203, et seq., is a federal law that concerns, among other things, the payment of overtime and minimum wage, and retaliation against employees who stand up for their rights under the law.
The Fair Labor Standards Act provides for a minimum wage and requires the payment of overtime premiums at 1.5 an employee's regular hourly rate for hours worked beyond 40 in each workweek. The current regular federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Federal law permits employers to pay a lower minimum wage, $2.13, to tipped employees but requires that the employer follow certain conditions to qualify for a “tip credit.” The FLSA also regulates how tips are paid and distributed and requires that all tipped employees receive a certain wage regardless of the amount of tips they receive. If business expenses or certain wage deductions effectively reduce an employee's wages below these legal requirements, an employer may be in violation of the FLSA.
The Fair Labor Standards Act applies to most companies in most industries. Certain types of employees are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime requirements, depending on an analysis of their job duties and compensation. While the FLSA typically does not provide protections for independent contractors, often employers wrongly classify employees as independent contractors in order to avoid the FLSA's requirements. When this happens, the "independent contractor" does have have protections contained in the FLSA.
State-Specific Wage Laws
In addition to the Fair Labor Standards Act, many states have additional protections for employees. Some states have higher minimum wage requirements, some have specific rules on the types of items that can be deducted, and some have laws that protect certain types of employees even though the Fair Labor Standards Act does not protect that type of employee.