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What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Why is the FLSA important?

Fair Labor Standards Act 101–FLSA Basics

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (aka the "FLSA") is the backbone of federal wage and hour law in the United States.  In 1938, Congress decided to establish a uniform, national standard for the payment of minimum and overtime wages. (and BOOM) the FLSA was born.

The FLSA requires almost all employers to pay their employees at least minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour) for all hours worked, and at least one and one-half times that amount for all time those employees spend working more than 40 hours per week. 

The FLSA also explicitly establishes that the states may establish a higher minimum wage (for example, Arizona is currently $10/hour).  In such a case, Congress requires the greater amount to be paid.  

The FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements apply to ALL employees, unless the employer can prove that the employee is exempt.  Exemptions are difficult to prove, and the employer must show that an employee is plainly and unmistakably exempt before it can pay less than minimum wage or not pay overtime.  That's not an easy thing to do.   

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