How Does the Fair Labor Standards Act Protect Me?


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is in the news often, most recently in a Huffington Post article that outlined a new rule regarding overtime pay for certain higher level salaried positions.

You might have questions about what the FLSA is and how it protects a wide range of people in the workforce.

In this article we cover general information about the law to help you understand how it may affect you.

FLSA Basics On Protections For Workers

The Act sets minimum wage, overtime, and other pay-related standards that apply nationwide:

  1. The Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour;
  2. Wages must be paid on a weekly basis for the relevant time period; and,
  3. Deductions from wages, such as uniforms, tools, or shortages are illegal if they reduce your pay to below the minimum wage.

Individual states are free to set higher rates, and New York is one of them which has increased the wage in recent years.

The minimum wage starts at $9.00 per hour in New York, but may be higher depending on your industry and work location.

For instance, the rate for fast food workers in New York City is $10.50 and will increase to $15.00 per hour by 2018. New York law also provides more favorable wage notice requirements, tip credit regulations, and penalties, than the Federal protections.

The FLSA does not apply to all employment practices, however. The Act doesn’t require employers to provide you with:

  • Vacation, holiday, sick pay and similar wages;
  • Premium pay rates for working holidays or weekends;
  • Employee benefits, like health insurance or pension plans; or,
  • Time off for vacation.

Overtime Pay Under The FLSA

Employers must pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek, at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay. The regular rate may be the minimum wage amount or higher, but that formula still applies.

The 40-hour work-week is based upon seven consecutive 24-hour days. The number of hours you work includes all time that you are required to be on the premises or a work site.

Legal Remedies

If your employer violates any provision of the FLSA, you do have legal remedies to recover your wages; this amount is known as “back pay.”

There are a couple of options available to you:

  • The Secretary of Labor, who oversees the FLSA, may bring a lawsuit against your employer for back wages and other damages; or,
  • You can hire a minimum wage and overtime attorney to file a private lawsuit on your behalf. In these cases, a court may award you attorney’s’ fees and court costs to compensate you for these expenses. Hiring a private attorney to represent your interests is usually faster and results in greater recovery.

The provisions of the FLSA are complicated, especially as they relate to the legal remedies intended to protect you as an employee. An Unpaid Wages Lawyer in New York will have the knowledge and experience to assess your case and pursue your rights under the law. For a Free Consultation, contact the experienced lawyers at Cilenti & Cooper, PLLC.[:]



Let us fight to recover the wages you have earned.

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