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Q&A: The Fair Labor Standards Act

WAGES, PAY AND BENEFITS

When are pay raises required?

Pay raises are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and employee (or the employee's representative). Pay raises to amounts above the federal minimum wage are not required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Is extra pay required for weekend or night work?

Extra pay for working weekends or nights is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative). The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require extra pay for weekend or night work. However, the FLSA does require that covered, nonexempt workers be paid not less than time and one-half the employee's regular rate for time worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

How are vacation pay, sick pay, holiday pay computed and when are they due?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or holidays (federal or otherwise). These benefits are a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative).

When must breaks and meal periods be given?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require breaks or meal periods be given to workers. Some states may have requirements for breaks or meal periods. If you work in a state which does not require breaks or meal periods, these benefits are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative).

Are periodic performance evaluations required?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require performance evaluations. Performance evaluations are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and employee (or the employee's representative).

I didn't get my last paycheck. What can I do?

Employers are not required by federal law to give former employees their final paycheck immediately. Some states, however, may require immediate payment. If the regular payday for the last pay period an employee worked has passed and the employee has not been paid, contact the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division or the state labor department. DOL also has mechanisms in place for the recovery of back wages.

OVERTIME AND WORK HOURS

When is overtime due?

For covered, nonexempt employees, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times an employee's regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek. Some exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under special circumstances to police officers and firefighters employed by public agencies and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes.

Some states also have enacted overtime laws. Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal overtime laws, the employee is entitled to overtime according to the higher standard (i.e., the standard that will provide the higher rate of pay).

How many hours per day or per week can an employee work?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not limit the number of hours per day or per week that employees aged 16 years and older can be required to work.

How many hours is full-time employment? How many hours is part-time employment?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not define full-time employment or part-time employment. This is a matter generally to be determined by the employer. Whether an employee is considered full-time or part-time does not change the application of the FLSA.

When can an employee's scheduled hours of work be changed?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has no provisions regarding the scheduling of employees, with the exception of certain child labor provisions. Therefore, an employer may change an employee's work hours without giving prior notice or obtaining the employee's consent (unless otherwise subject to a prior agreement between the employer and employee or the employee's representative).

Is extra pay required for weekend or night work?

Extra pay for working weekends or nights is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative). The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require extra pay for weekend or night work. However, the FLSA does require that covered, nonexempt workers be paid not less than time and one-half the employee's regular rate for time worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

RECORDKEEPING AND NOTICES

Are pay stubs required?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does require that employers keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid to employees. However, the FLSA does not require an employer to provide employees pay stubs.

What notices must be given before an employee is terminated or laid off?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has no requirements for notice to an employee prior to termination or lay-off. In certain cases, employers must give the workers advanced notice of mass layoffs or plant closure. The Warn Act provides specific information on advance notice, employer responsibility and workers rights during mass layoffs or plant closure.

Some states may have requirements for employee notification prior to termination or lay-off.

For more information, see the Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor

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