What Is the Purpose of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

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According to Cornell University, the purpose of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is to set a federally mandated minimum wage and maximum hours for a work week. It also provides standards regarding overtime pay, pay equality, record-keeping and child labor.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the FLSA was introduced in 1938. At that time, it established the first federally mandated minimum wage; as of 2014, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It also set federal overtime pay standards; as of 2014, overtime rates are mandated to be not less than one and a half times the normal hourly rate of pay for any hours worked over the standard 40-hour workweek.

As the U.S. Department of Labor explains, the FLSA requires employers to keep accurate records of time worked and pay allotted to employees. It also sets standards regarding child labor. The FLSA states that children cannot legally work in dangerous jobs that may be harmful to their well-being and ensures that children continue to receive education while working.

The FLSA does not apply to all positions. According to Cornell University, the FLSA contains within its language the requirements for those jobs and positions that are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA.