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FLSA Continues to Evolve

This year, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) celebrates its 80th year since passage. This federal labor law has had a beneficial impact on the work force, especially with respect to minimum wage and overtime pay. Currently, the FLSA provides that all workers earning at least minimum wage, and those non-exempt workers who work in excess of 40 hours in any one work week be paid overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half their standard rate of pay for each hour over 40.

Since the law was enacted, numerous amendments and modifications have been made. These include amendments specifically clarifying who should be considered an employee (as opposed to an independent contractor), and what constitutes hours worked.

Additionally, adjustments have been made to who may be considered exempt, and thus not entitled to overtime pay, regardless of how many hours an employee has worked. Pursuant to the FLSA. three main workplace exemptions exist. This means that assuming an employee makes at least the salary threshold - currently $455/week - and fits into one of the "white collar" exemptions, administrative, executive or professional - then an employee may not be entitled to overtime pay. This question of classification, along with whether the worker should be considered an employee v. an independent contractor, constitutes one of the largest areas of contention in wage and hour law

Other critical issues involving the FLSA include clarifying and addressing employee/employer rights and responsibilities as more and more workers work remotely, at least in some capacity. Virtual/remote work can affect the calculation of time worked and a worker's right to overtime. For example, when workers are expected to answer calls/email outside of regularly scheduled hours, should they be compensated? As the work place evolves, the FLSA will be adjusted/amended to reflect the evolving work force.

For more information, or if you have any wage and hour questions, please contact the dedicated Atlanta wage and hour attorneys at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation. 

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