Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted 80 years ago

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act may have reached the half-century mark this year but it’s a spring chicken compared to its older legal sibling, the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The FLSA was enacted 80 years ago, in June 1938. The law establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in both the private and public sectors. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division enforces the FLSA.

Over the years, the regulations for implementing the FLSA have changed to keep up with the economic realities of the day and the changing nature of work.

For example, the federal minimum wage was 25 cents per hour when the law went into effect. It has been raised 23 times since then, and now stands at $7.25 per hour.

When he signed the FLSA into law, President Franklin Roosevelt called it the most important piece of domestic legislation since the Social Security Act of 1935. At the time, the law affected the pay of some 700,000 workers. Now it covers nearly every worker in the United States.

The FLSA survived a Supreme Court challenge in 1941.

Since 1938, the law has been amended 18 times. Notable laws that amended the FLSA include the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the ADEA. Numerous other federal laws affected the wage-and-hour issues governed by the FLSA, including the Immigration and Control Act (1986) and the FMLA (1997).

Online resource Learn more about the FLSA and its compliance requirements at www.dol.gov/whd/flsa.