Human Resources: Fair Labor Standards Act

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The fair labor Standards Act was first enacted into law by President Roosevelt way back in 1938 (Mathis & Jackson, 2010). It established a benchmark to Federal American to protect vulnerable employees who might fall prey to labor malpractices. The Act contained sweeping reforms that brought remarkable changes in the labor market. The Act includes salient features that are meant to have a direct impact on a certain category of workers. These features include the following.

Child Labor

Child labor is one of the salient features of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Essentially, it is meant to check and counter-check labor practices performed by individuals between the ages of 14 and 15. The Act ensures that whenever individuals in this age bracket work, the duty they perform is safe, does not interfere with their educational opportunities or their well-being. The Act states that children between the age of 14 and 15 years should not work more than 3 hours during school hours or more than 18 hours a week (Mathis& Jackson, 2010).

Record Keeping

Fair Labor Standards Act obliges employers to have a well-maintained labor record that should include payroll records lasting 3 years. This includes time cards, wage calculations, and work schedules. This should be well maintained for 2 years.

Exempt or Nonexempt

The FLSA has provisions that govern employees. These are exempt or none except. The first instance in which none exempt employees differ from none except is that they are entitled to overtime pay in contrast to exempt employees.

Secondly, the difference comes by definition. For instance, people working in the sales department as outside vendors are classified as exempt while those working inside are none exempt. Nevertheless, another difference comes in the way employees are paid, how much they earn, and the type of work they do. The department of labor maintains that to be exempt, an employee must earn a minimum of $23,600 annually; this must be on a salary basis and must be performing exempt duties (Mathis& Jackson, 2010).

The first real changes that took place in the FLSA included:

  • Prohibiting minors from riding on farm machinery especially on public roads
  • Prohibiting individuals under the age of 16years from undertaking tasks such as driving farm machinery, handling chemicals that are deemed lethal, and branding animals.

The main difference between these changes and 1938 is that the new changes pushed the limiting age for performing work from a minimum age of 18 to 16, especially in the Agricultural sector. Further, there is a change in the regulation of overtime hours according to the individual state so long as the modification does not go against those set by the federal state (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).

There have been some shortcomings that are closely associated with these changes. For instance, most Union leaders have fears that a minimum wage could also mean maximum wage, where employers uphold the minimum as stipulated by the law. Another controversy concerns the American Federation of labor, which blamed the 1938 Act as being in favor of the industrial sector over craft unions. AFL vehemently opposed the board as a determinant of wages for particular industries. Essentially, the old Act is advantageous because the new changes bring along provisions such as IT and administration, and management. Such changes are also seen as an effort to control a huge number of employers who manage other workers without having academic qualifications. Such changes are also important because, previously, workers could work for long hours without being compensated. In addition, such changes have given the freedom to individual states to enact their own laws. This is a plus since the previous Act gave a blanket provision that did not consider the capability of individual states (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).

Furthermore, the exempt and none except status can be altered in two ways; one is through external requirements such as the FLSA, in which organizations are forced to revise their employment policies. FLSA gives legal direction as far as a minimum and maximum wages are concerned, as such, all organizations have the legal obligation to follow the prescription. Secondly, such an alteration can take place due to changes in individual employment status such as promotions, demotions, or change from a full-time job to part-time. Such changes inevitably change one standing as far as FLSA prescription is concerned.

The benefits accrued from exempt employment to the employee include being able to make use of personal time without being seen as being coaxed to do so since what matters is the amount of work allocated. On the other hand, none exempt employees are likely to be strictly monitored with specific breaks during working hours. Further, employers tend to benefit from none exempt employment because, generally, they are paid less in comparison to exempt employees. This is because; employers can save substantially and invest the savings in other income-generating activities. Since non-exempt employees work according to the amount of work allocated, such employees are likely to benefit since they complete their tasks in lesser time and use the remaining hours to do other private tasks that can generate extra income (Mathis& Jackson, 2010).


Mathis, Jackson. (2010) Human Resource Management, 13th Edition. South Western Educational Publishing,.

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