Happy Birthday, FLSA!

By Kathleen J. Jennings(kjj@wimlaw.com)

Today, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) turns 80 years old. In 1938, the FLSA, signed into law by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, established a federal minimum wage, the 40-hour workweek, overtime, and limits on child labor. Think about what the world of work must have looked like before those measures were implemented.

Moreover, think about how the world of work has changed since 1938. Back then, most workers clocked in and out of work on timeclocks usually actual time cards. Now, some workers simply sign in and out of work on an app on their phones. Indeed, the new “gig economy” is presenting challenges to the continued relevance of the FLSA, and some updates to the law are going to be necessary in order to keep up with the changing workplace. However, as demonstrated by the Obama administration’s attempt to expand the salary threshold for the overtime exemption, any changes are likely to draw opposition and pushback.

Members of the House and Senate marked the FLSA’s birthday by introducing bills to make farmworkers eligible for overtime pay. Under the current law, farmworkers are not eligible to receive overtime pay. The new bill is unlikely to pass this year but could gain support if Democrats win control of either the House or Senate following November’s midterm elections.

Here’s how your company can celebrate the FLSA’s birthday: review your exempt employees and their duties to make sure that they are correctly classified. And remember: simply paying an employee a salary does not automatically make the employee exempt.

Kathleen Jennings, Principal is a principal in the Atlanta office of Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider, & Stine, P.C. She defends employers in sexual harassment and other employment litigation and provides training and counseling to employers in employment matters. She can be contacted at kjj@wimlaw.com.

©2018 Wimberly Lawson

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