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CHAPTER 17. Fair Labor Standards Act. Statutory Basis. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, requires employers to pay his or her employees a minimum wage and requires overtime pay for work in excess of forty hours per week.

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CHAPTER 17

Fair Labor

Standards Act


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Statutory Basis

  • Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, requires employers to pay his or her employees a minimum wage and requires overtime pay for work in excess of forty hours per week


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General Provisions paid in hourly wages

  • Administered by Department of Labor (DOL)’s Wage and Hour Division

  • Regulates child labor, wages, and hours

  • Requires recordkeeping by employers

  • Contains anti-retaliation provisions

  • Employees may receive back pay in cases of violations


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Covered Employees paid in hourly wages

  • Individual coverage

    • Employees whose jobs directly involve interstate commerce

  • Enterprise coverage

    • All employees of businesses engaged in interstate commerce

  • Federal employees are covered

  • Covers most state and local government employees


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Minimum Wage paid in hourly wages

  • Minimum hourly wage is currently $5.15 per hour (up from $.25 per hour in 1938)

  • Overtime rate is one and one-half times the employee’s regular hourly rate

  • Exemptions exist for both the wage and overtime provisions


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Minimum Wage paid in hourly wages

  • On May 25, President Bush signed a spending bill that, among other things, amended the FLSA to increase the federal minimum wage in three steps:

    • to $5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007;

    • to $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008;

    • and to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.


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Minimum Wage paid in hourly wages

  • Minimum Wage Laws in the States http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm

  • Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/tipped.htm


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Minimum Wage – Special Rules paid in hourly wages

  • For tipped employees, minimum wage is $2.13 an hour.

  • A minimum wage of $4.25 an hour applies to workers under 20 during their 1st 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with the employer.

  • After receiving a certificate from the Wage & Hour Division, employers may pay special minimum wages to workers who have disabilities.


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FULL-TIME STUDENT PROGRAM paid in hourly wages

  • The Full-time Student Program is for students employed in retail or service stores, agriculture, or colleges.

  • The employer can obtain a certificate which allows the student to not be paid <85% of the minimum wage.

  • Students are limited to 8 hours a day and no more than 20 hours a week when school is in session, and 40 hours when school is out.


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STUDENT LEARNERS paid in hourly wages

  • This is for high school students at least 16 years old who are enrolled in vocational education.

  • The employer can obtain a certificate from the DOL which allows student to not be paid less than 75% of the minimum wage.


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Maximum Hours paid in hourly wages

  • FSLA does not limit the number of hours employees may work

  • Established 40 hours as a normal workweek

  • Comp time may be substituted for overtime pay in some situations


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EXEMPTIONS paid in hourly wages

  • Some employees are exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions.

  • A common example would be executives, administrators, or professionals who are paid on a salary basis.


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EXEMPTIONS paid in hourly wages

  • Some employees are exempt from the minimum wage provisions or the overtime pay provisions. Some are exempt from the child labor laws.

  • Some examples would include:

    • Aircraft salespeople – OT

    • Workers with disabilities – MW

    • Federal criminal investigators – OT & MW

    • Newspaper delivery – OT, MW & CL

    • http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/screen75.asp


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In 2004 , the DOL issued new regulations that changed the classification of some employees.

  • For example,

  • If you earn less than $455 a week or $23,660 a year, you are entitled to overtime.

  • Workers in executive jobs are not entitled to overtime if they are primarily managers, oversee 2 or more workers, and have the power to hire or fire or recommend such action.

  • Administrative workers are exempt if their chief duties are directly related to the management of an operation and they have discretionary decision-making power.


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Child Labor Laws classification of some employees.

  • Most children cannot work before age 16

  • Age 18 is the minimum age for hazardous work

  • Children between the ages of 14 and 16 may work at certain job types

  • State laws may be more strict and, if so, override federal law


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Child Labor in Georgia classification of some employees.

  • No minor under 12 may be employed.

  • Minors under 16 who have not graduated must have a work certificate from school.

  • Minors under 16 may not be employed between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., more than 4 hours a day during the school year, more than 8 hours a day during vacations and not more than 40 hours a week. (May be different rules for agricultural industries.)

  • Minors under 16 may not be employed in a “dangerous occupation.”


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Federal Law Does Not Cover: classification of some employees.Lunch requirements

  • An employer does not have to provide lunch or coffee breaks. Also, an employer does not have to pay employees for lunch breaks that they are given.

  • Some states have mandatory meal breaks. These states require meal periods: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia.

  • To find your state’s requirements, consult the Department of Labor’s chart on meal periods.


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Federal Law Does Not Cover: classification of some employees.Coffee Breaks

  • The federal government does not require coffee breaks. However, any short breaks (usually 5-20 minutes) that you are given must be paid.

  • A few states require breaks. In these states, you generally get a 10-minute break for every 4-hour shift. These states include: California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

  • For your state’s requirements, the Department of Labor has a rest period chart.


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Management classification of some employees.Considerations

  • Do not make exceptions to child labor laws

  • Excessive overtime may indicate the need for more employees

  • Know which employees are exempt from wage and hour laws

  • Conduct periodic workplace audits to ensure efficiency