The Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act, abbreviated as FLSA, is a federal statute in the United States started in 1938. The body was put in place in order to establish some minimum requirements for employees including the number of hours they are supposed to work, the wages to be paid, their premium overtime and their payroll records.

The FLSA defined two types of employees: the exempt employees and the non-exempt employees. The exempt employees are exempted from overtime and minimum wage provision based on their duties and the manner in which they are compensated.  On the other hand, non-exempt employees account for the time they had been on duties, vacation and leave based on their duties and the manner of compensation (Repa, 2002).

The FLSA of 1938 defines three types of jobs which may be exempt from overtime entitlement. They include administrative, executive and professional. Until 1966, the FLSA was not applicable to universities but later on the Supreme Court decision on the issue voided its coverage. In 1985, the Supreme Court paved way for the FLSA coverage of all public employees. The congresses enacted this decision in 1986 which also applied to universities.

The FLSA has a record keeping regulation which requires all employers covered to keep records on wages and to provide notices regarding the Act. This ensures the employers comply with the various provisions of the Act. The employers are required to keep records of the employee’s name, address, number of hours worked per day and per week, rate of pay and its deductions or bonuses (Christopher & Aspatore, 2010).

There are various amendments which have been done to the FLSA since 1938.

There has been an amendment pertaining to the ownership of employees tips. According to the amended tip credit regulation, an employer is supposed to use an employee’s tips to cover the difference between the minimum wage and the required tip credit cash wage. The employer is not supposed to use it for any other reason. In addition, the employer is required to give the employees a prior notice on any required tip pool contribution (Epstein, 1998).

Another amendment, which was effective as from March 2010, requires employers to provide a nursing mother with an adequate period of time after giving birth. It also requires employers to provide a place where the employees can breast feed the child. Other amendments include revision of regulations pertaining the Youth Opportunity Wage (1996), amendment on the regulations pertaining to agricultural workers (1997), changing the definition of an employee in fire protection activities (1999). Some 2008 proposed changes were abandoned such as the regulations regarding to compensatory time and those concerning industrial service advisors.

Review of Three Notable FLSA Cases

McLean vs. Garage Management Corp.

In this case the employer managed parking garages with the help of a number of employees. The employees were paid for all the hours worked. In addition they were also paid an Extra Compensation bonus (EC Bonus). This bonus was pre-determined and fixed. It depended on some factors including the garage assignments, merits, promotions, and seniority. According to the defendants in the case, EC Bonus was not an overtime payment but was an appropriate way to pay overtime. They maintained that EC Bonus payments should not be included in calculating regular rate of pay. The FLSA regulations describe all the premium payments encompassed and excluded in the calculation of regular rate of pay. The employer failed to show that FLSA permits the exclusion of EC Bonuses when calculating regular pay.

 This case can be applicable in the business world today. There is a defined time during which the employee is under the control of the employer. Therefore, an employee should be compensated for time he/she spent on duty. However, employers are not to compensate for the amount of time spent by the employee while travelling to and from the work and preparing to start his/her duties.

Pitts vs. Terrible Herbst Inc.

This case was filed by giving a plaintiff against his employer. The employer was Terrible Herbst, an owner of a Las Vegas area convenience store. The plaintiff complained of unpaid overtime and violation of minimum wage regulations according to FLSA. When Herbst was asked to produce records pertaining employees, such as a list of their names and addresses, he refused to comply.

The case can be applicable in businesses today in the sense that there should be record keeping on every firm. Each employer should make and preserve records of people employed, their wages and their hours of work. The employer should be in a position to tell the amount of work the employees perform on daily basis.

Reich vs. Montfort, Inc.

The case was filed by employees since they were not paid for the overtime worked in the meat processing plant. In this case the employer was found to have violated the FSLA regulations by not paying nonexempt employees for the work they did in work-related preliminary activities such as removing, putting on, and cleaning protective equipments.

Applying this case in the business world today, all firms should clearly inform their employees of the activities that require compensation in accordance with the FLSA regulation. The employees should be aware that some activities qualified as work yet do not require compensation since they involve little time thus considered disregarded.

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