What Is FLSA And What Does It Do?

What is FLSA?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that not only defines the 40-hour workweek but also establishes the minimum wage, overtime wage requirements, and child labor standards. More specifically, this act affects certain employees due to the type of work they do, how many hours worked, and who employs their work.

Since 1938, FLSA has fought to protect the rights of the American workers. Over the years, additional amendments further provide for American rights. Most recently, President Obama raised the threshold for overtime eligibility.

Here are a few more ways that FLSA has changed to better provide for Americans.

  • equal pay despite gender for work using equal expertise, production, and responsibility.
  • standards for offering compensatory time off work
  • protection for educational institutions and hospitals
  • requirements for overtime wages
  • providence for federal and state employees

If you are eligible under this law for overtime pay, you can sue your employer for not paying your overtime.

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What Does FLSA Do?

The Fair Labor Standards Act established the pay rules and overtime requirements of the American employee. It also specifies who enforces the law. Furthermore, this act covers certain employees in the United States of America.

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) ensures that the law is followed by private employers, state and local government employers, and federal employers. This includes employees of the U.S. Postal Service and the Library of Congress. Meanwhile, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management enforces this law for other executive branch employees. The U.S. Congress protects employees of the legislative branch under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

FLSA ensures that employees who work over the 40-hour workweek are reimbursed accordingly. Over the years, technicalities muddied what was meant to be a clear cut rule. Court cases shed light on these situations, heralding the change that President Obama implemented at the beginning of 2016 with the new overtime wage laws.

Who Does the Fair Labor Standards Act Cover?

FLSA theoretically covers all employees under the overtime provisions. Pennsylvania Overtime Compensation Lawyers understand the complexities of the law and can detail whether your situation meets the requirements.

When eligible for overtime compensation, an employee should receive time and a half (1.5) pay for hours worked over 40 hours in a single workweek. Compensation can sometimes be overtime pay or compensatory time. Overtime-eligible employees are required to fill out a Time and Attendance Record in keeping with the law.

Quick and Dirty: FLSA Overtime-Eligible Employees

A couple of quick ways to know if an employee is eligible for coverage or overtime compensation are two tests. Basically, there’s the salary or responsibility test. If an employee passes the criteria for either of those, they are likely eligible for overtime compensation.

Read more about the new overtime laws in Pennsylvania.

Salary Test:

The salary test is simple because it’s based on numbers. It can’t get more simple than that. However, if you are eligible based on your pay, the next thing that comes under review are your work duties or the below responsibility test.

  • FLSA-eligible: paid less than $47,476 per year or $910 per week.
  • Not eligible: earn more than $100,000 per year.

Responsibility Test:

This is a more difficult test to satisfy since it means scrutinizing the actual tasks that employees do. A job title holds no weight if the work is actually non-managerial or managerial. The responsibility test checks the type of work an employee is doing throughout his or her employed hours.

Exempt from FLSA coverage:

  • Executive work duties
  • Professional job capacity
  • Administrative work
  • Other sales work

What About Employees Not Covered By FLSA?

An employee not covered by FLSA or an exempt employee receives nothing from the law. Basically, the exempt employee can expect only to receive their base salary for time worked since they are usually salaried rather than on an hourly wage. Although FLSA does not cover these employees, other laws may cover these workers.

What About Employees Covered By FLSA?

Employees covered by the law are entitled to time and one-half of their regular pay for every hour worked over a FLSA overtime threshold. Reimbursement for overtime can also be in compensatory time off work.


If you have worked overtime without compensation and you are eligible for FLSA coverage, contact a lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com