S. Amir Kohan

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (1938)

The FLSA is one of a handful of federal laws that establish the foundation for employee treatment. It is a major influence on how people are paid, in the employment of young people, and in how records are to be kept on employment issues such as hours of work. The law introduced a maximum 44-hour 7-day workweek, established a national minimum wage, guaranteed “time-and-a-half” for overtime in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors in “oppressive child labor,” a term that is defined in the statute.

It applies to employees engaged in interstate commerce or employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce unless the employer can claim an exemption from coverage. It is interesting to note that FLSA, rather than the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is the first federal law to require employers to maintain records on employee race and sex identification.

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