News / Blog


In June 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or “Act”) (Pub. L. 75-718, ch. 676, 52 Stat. 1060) into law (taking effect in October 1938) while the country was in the throes of the Great Depression.  President Roosevelt stated regarding the Act, “I do think that next to the Social Security Act it is the most important Act that has been passed in the last two to three years.”2  The FLSA “establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.”3  This blog post will provide a brief overview of the FLSA and discuss how it may protect Your rights in the workplace.

It is not an exaggeration to state that the FLSA “changed the entire employment culture of the United States and easily rivals Social Security in its importance.”4  The FLSA was the culmination of a decades-long fight to protect workers, both children and adults.5  During his reelection campaign in 1936, President Roosevelt asserted, “Something has to be done about the elimination of child labor and long hours and starvation wages[.]”6  The FLSA took more than a year to make it to President Roosevelt’s desk, and it was a contentious fight.7  Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, who spent much of her working life advocating for pro-labor causes, was instrumental in crafting the FLSA.8   The FLSA has been amended several times since its passage in 1938.9

Under the FLSA, children are limited in the jobs they can perform and the hours they can work.10  The FLSA also sets a minimum wage for covered workers and employers.  Currently, the federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 (the minimum wage in Florida is $11.00, which will increase to $12.00 on September 30, 2023).11  Another important component of the FLSA’s protections is overtime pay.  As noted by the Department of Labor, the entity tasked with enforcement of the FLSA, “Unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.”12

Today, the Department of Labor estimates that “[m]ore than 143 million American workers are protected (or ‘covered’) by the FLSA[.]”13  As President Roosevelt and Secretary Perkins envisioned, the FLSA continues to play a pivotal role in providing important protections to American workers.  The Department of Labor has provided the following guidance regarding ways employees can be covered by the law:

Enterprise Coverage.

Employees who work for certain businesses or organizations (or “enterprises”) are covered by the FLSA. These enterprises, which must have at least two employees, are:

those that have an annual dollar volume of sales or business done of at least $500,000.

hospitals, businesses providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools and preschools, and government agencies.

Individual Coverage.

Even when there is no enterprise coverage, employees are protected by the FLSA if their work regularly involves them in commerce between States (“interstate commerce”). The FLSA covers individual workers who are “engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.”

Examples of employees who are involved in interstate commerce include those who: produce goods (such as a worker assembling components in a factory or a secretary typing letters in an office) that will be sent out of state, regularly make telephone calls to persons located in other States, handle records of interstate transactions, travel to other States on their jobs, and do janitorial work in buildings where goods are produced for shipment outside the State.

Also, domestic service workers (such as housekeepers, full-time babysitters, and cooks) are normally covered by the law.14

Navigating the intricacies of the FLSA requires experienced counsel, and we are well-versed in the law.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic, or any topic related to labor and employment law, please contact us.

[1] Samuel, Howard D., “Troubled Passage: the labor movement and the Fair Labor Standards Act,” Monthly Labor Review (December 2000), available at (last visited Aug. 31, 2023).

[2] Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act, U.S. Dep’t of Labor, Wage & Hour Div., (last visited Aug. 31, 2023).

[3] Cole, supra note 1.

[4] See id.

[5] Id.

[6] Grossman, supra note 1.

[7] Id.

[8] See History, U.S. Dep’t of Labor, Wage & Hour Div., (last visited Aug. 31, 2023).

[9] Basic Information, U.S. Dep’t of Labor, Wage & Hour Div., available at (last visited Aug. 31, 2023).  States, including Florida, also have limitations on employing minors.

[10] Minimum Wage, U.S. Dep’t of Labor, Wage & Hour Div., (last visited Aug. 31, 2023); (setting forth the minimum wage in Florida) (last visited Aug. 31, 2023).

[11] Overtime Pay, U.S. Dep’t of Labor, Wage & Hour Div., (last visited Aug. 31, 2023).

[12] Fact Sheet #14: Coverage Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), U.S. Dep’t of Labor, Wage & Hour Div., available at (last visited Aug. 31, 2023).

[13] Id.


Photo by John Salvino on Unsplash