S. Amir Kohan

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – Recordkeeping

FLSA – Recordkeeping

FLSA prescribes methods for determining whether a job is exempt or nonexempt from overtime pay requirements of the act. If a job is exempt from those requirements, incumbents can work as many hours of overtime as the job requires without being paid for their overtime. Exempt versus nonexempt status attaches to the job, not the incumbent. So, someone with an advanced degree who is working in a clerical job may be non-exempt because of the job requirements, not their personal qualifications. Employers are permitted to have a policy that calls for paying exempt employees when they work overtime. That is a voluntary provision of a benefit in excess of federal requirements.

State laws may have additional requirements. People who work in nonexempt jobs must be paid overtime according to the rate computation methods provided for in the act.

Usually, this is a requirement for overtime after 40 hours of regular time worked during a single workweek. The act also describes how a workweek is to be determined.

Each employer covered by the FLSA must keep records for each covered, nonexempt worker. Those records must include the following:

• Employee’s full name and Social Security number.
• Address, including ZIP code.
• Birth date, if younger than 19.
• Sex.
• Occupation.
• Time and day of the week when the employee’s workweek begins.
• Hours worked each day and total hours worked each workweek. (This includes a record of the time work began at the start of the day when the employee left for a meal break, the time the employee returned to work from the meal break, and the time work ended for the day.)
• Basis on which employees’ wages are paid (hourly, weekly, piecework).
• Regular hourly pay rate.
• Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings.
• Total overtime earnings for the workweek.
• All additions or deductions from the employee’s wages.
• Total wages paid each pay period.
• Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.

There is no limit in the FLSA to the number of hours employees aged 16 and older may work in any workweek. There is a provision for employers to retain all payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, sales, and purchase records for at least 3 years. Any time card, piecework record, wage rate tables, and work and time schedules should be retained for at least 2 years. A workplace poster is required to notify employees of the federal minimum wage.

The federal child labor provisions of the FLSA, also known as the child labor laws, were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work is safe and does not jeopardize their health, well-being, or educational opportunities. These provisions also provide limited exemptions. Workers under 14 years of age are restricted to jobs such as newspaper delivery to local customers; babysitting on a casual basis; acting in movies, TV, radio, or theater; and working as home workers gathering evergreens and making evergreen wreaths. Under no circumstances, even if the business is family-owned, may a person this young work in any of the 17 most hazardous jobs.

• Manufacturing or storing of explosives
• Driving a motor vehicle or working as an outside helper on motor vehicles
• Coal mining
• Forest fire fighting and forest fire prevention, timber tract, forestry service, and occupations in logging and sawmilling
• Using power-driven woodworking machines
• Exposure to radioactive substances and ionizing radiation
• Using power-driven hoisting apparatuses
• Using power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines
• Mining, other than coal

• Using power-driven meat-processing machines, slaughtering, meat, and poultry packing, processing, or rendering
• Using power-driven bakery machines
• Using balers, compactors, and power-driven paper-products machines
• Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products
• Using power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs.
• Working in wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations
• Roofing and work performed on or about a roof
• Trenching or excavating.

For workers aged 14 and 15, all work must be performed outside school hours, and these workers may not work:

• More than 3 hours on a school day, including Friday
• More than 18 hours per week when school is in session
• More than 8 hours per day when school is not in session
• More than 40 hours per week when school is not in session
• Before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any day, except from June 1 through Labor Day, when nighttime work hours are extended to 9 p.m.

Until employees reach the age of 18 it is necessary for them to obtain a work permit from their school district. For workers aged 16 through 17, there are no restrictions on the number of hours that can be worked per week. There continues to be a ban on working any job among the 17 most hazardous industries. All of these conditions must be met, or the employer will be subject to penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor.


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