Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is an act that was passed by Congress to help regulate minimum wage, working hours and child labor in the United States. As a requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are also obligated to keep and maintain appropriate records of both exempt as well as non-exempt employees (www.dol.gov). In addition, for employees earning salaries that are at the lower end of the pay scale, a provision of this Federal Act has made sure that they do not fall into the poverty level. As such, FLSA requires employers of these said employees, to pay them a certain amount that ensures that they are living at the pre-set minimum standard of living level for that area (Bennett Alexander, 2004). However, this part of the law is only perfect in theory. In real life, it has actually caused poverty in some areas. By paying those at the low end of the pay scale just enough the make sure that they are living at the minimum standard of living for that area, it ensures that they stay at that level and thus are not able to advance themselves economically. Also, it keeps the employer from having the obligation of paying higher wages as they realize that since he/she’s meeting the minimum requirements of the Act, there is no need to go above and beyond. History of the FLSA
After the great depression ended in the 1940’s, the United States government hoped to avoid any future potential economic downturns. To repetition of these economic downturns, the government would need to make sure that the employers were paying fair and better wages and in turn, employees could therefore be able to provide for their families. Unions became legalized so that they could be the voices and representatives between the workers and their employers. Once it was evident that unions were now officially authorized through federal statute as the representatives of the employees, there came up a need for a piece of legislation that would address the rights of the workers. As such, the stage was set for what was to become the Fair Labor Standards Act. On June 25th, 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to “put a ceiling over hours and a floor under wages.” The main objective of the act was summarized as the “elimination of labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standards of living necessary for health, efficiency and well-being of workers." It applies to employees who are directly or indirectly involved in interstate commerce, including those involved in manufacturing goods for such commerce. All of these employees are covered by the FLSA unless the employer can prove exemption from coverage. Wage Standards and Exemptions
One major provision of the FLSA is the minimum wage allowed for all nonexempt employees. FLSA requires all employers to make payment to employees for the hours worked in accordance to the minimum wage requirements. At the beginning, the minimum wage was set at $0.25 per hour. This was later amended to $0.30 in the second year and over a span of the next six years, the minimum wage went up to $0.40 per hour. Effective July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage according to the US department of Labor was amended to $7.25 per hour for covered nonexempt employees. In cases where the employee is subject to both the federal and state minimum wage laws, the employee has the right to the higher of the two wages (www.dol.gov). For example, minimum wage in the state of Georgia, minimum wage is $5.15/hour. As such, an employee from Georgia would benefit from getting the larger of the two wages, which is the Federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. In conjunction with setting what the minimum wage was, the maximum workweek was also established in the Fair Labor Standards Act. In the beginning, the maximum workweek was set at 44 hours. This was consequently amended to 42 hours in the second year and then to 40 hours thereafter. The 40 hours is now what is currently...
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