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The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) brought the 40-hour workweek to Depression-era America. The idea seemed simple: Force employers to pay workers 1½ times their regular hourly wage for every hour over 40 they worked in a week. If the government made it too expensive to work employees long hours, then employers would hire more people and reduce unemployment.

Later, the FLSA became the vehicle to set a national minimum wage. Because wage conditions vary across the country, each state has passed its equivalent of the FLSA, some with different minimum wages, mandatory breaks and other rules.

Certain executive, administrative and professional employees are exempt from the FLSA, meaning they aren’t eligible for overtime pay. But the $64,000 question is this: Which employees qualify for the overtime exemption?

That dilemma has triggered some huge FLSA lawsuits, and the three-year-old “clarification” regulations have only fu...(register to read more)

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