FLSA Terms

Attorneys’ Fees
Successful plaintiffs filing under FLSA violations are eligible to be awarded reasonable “attorney’s fees” and court costs.

Compensatory Time or “Comp Time”
Compensatory time is time off given as a substitute to overtime pay. Generally those working for government institutions are given compensatory time, but it is usually not permitted in the private sector.

Department of Labor (DOL)
The Department of Labor is responsible for workers’ wage and hour standards, among other occupational issues. They are the federal government agency who enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act. While the DOL may be able to assist you with a wage claim, they may not always bring suit on your behalf.

Duties Test
For an employee to be truly exempt, they must pass what is called a “duties test”. This duties test will determine if your job duties would consider you truly exempt. Exempt employees usually perform high-level work and have great decision-making power, and often have specialized training or degrees.

Exempt Employees
Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime wages. They are exempt from overtime and minimum wage requirements set by the FLSA. Exempt employees must be paid salary or on a fee basis. Also, their work duties must be that of an exempt employee. Executive, administrative, and professional employees’ work must meet specific criteria to be considered exempt. Under very few circumstances are hourly employees exempt from overtime pay.

Fair Labor Standards Act
This federal statute can also be known as the Wages and Hours Bill. The FLSA sets minimum wage requirements, and ensures over-time wages for non-exempt employees.

Hours Worked
Hours worked can include work done off-the-clock. In some circumstances, training, travel, work during travel, work done from home, and on-call time can be considered work-time. Even if you have worked off the clock, and your employer has not documented those hours, it is still possible to file a claim for these hours. Holidays, sick days, and other days off are not considered as hours worked by the FLSA.

Independent Contractor
Independent contractors are exempt employees who control nearly all aspects of their work. If a company begins exerting control over an independent contractor’s work, such as setting prices or taking away command of their decision-making, then this employee can be considered exempt and eligible for overtime.

Joint & Dual Employment
Employees who work the same job for two different employers have “joint employment”. The hours worked are aggregated and each employer has equal responsibility for the employee’s wages. Dual employment happens when an employee works different jobs for the same employer. Hours are aggregated for the purposes of overtime wage computation.

Liquidated Damages (“double damages”)
Liquidated damages are double the amount of the unpaid back wages. Liquidated damages can be paid instead of the back wages with interest. In cases in which employer’s knowingly withheld wages, successful plaintiffs are entitled to liquidated damages.

Meal Periods
While the FLSA does not require meal times, these periods can count as time worked unless the employee is officially relieved of their job duties.

Nonexempt Employees
In general, nonexempt employees can receive overtime wages, which is typically 1.5 times their regular hourly rate of pay. With very few exceptions, most hourly employees are nonexempt and can receive overtime pay. Even salaried employees can receive overtime, though. Your job duties are another test of your exemption.

Off-the-Clock Work
If you are performing job duties outside of your normal working hours, then this can be considered off the clock work. Off the clock work can include “homework”, equipment maintenance, working from home, or continuing to work after your shift has ended.

The FLSA does not prohibit employers from having their employees “on-call”, meaning that the employee can be “called-in” to work during a specific period of time. On-call time is typically not considered time-worked.

The FLSA states that employees must be paid on a regularly scheduled payday. A late payment of wages can be counted as a non-payment. There is no rule prescribing how often or frequently wages should be paid.

Regular Rate
A regular rate is not simply an employee’s hourly wages, according to the FLSA. The FLSA defines regular rate as all pay that is paid to the employee.

Retaliation and Discrimination

Employers cannot retaliate against employees for asking for fair pay. This is prohibited by the FLSA.

A salary is a guaranteed minimum amount an employee is paid during any regular work period. The FLSA can determine between exempt and non-exempt employees with a salary basis test, however this is just one test for determination of exemption. Receiving salary does not automatically make an employee exempt unless they also perform high-level job duties.

“7(K)” Exemption
According to the FLSA, workers who put in over 40 hours per week at work should receive overtime compensation. Section 207(k), also known as the (7)k exemption, establishes larger working weeks for public safety employees. This means that a higher number of hours in a week is required before an employee can receive the premium pay that comes with overtime.

State Law
States have their own wage and hours laws however these do not supersede the FLSA. Employees are usually entitled to the more favorable benefits, whether they are state or federal.

Statute of Limitations
The FLSA’s statute of limitations for recovered wages begins two years before the filed complaint. If the employer intentionally violated FLSA regulations then sometimes it can cover three years.

Straight Time
There is limited application to straight time wages under the FLSA, with the exception of minimum wages. The FLSA may require straight pay at an employee’s regular rate when the employee has worked FLSA overtime.

Training Time
While there are exceptions, training is usually compensated as working time. Training time is not working time if it is voluntary, outside the employee’s normal working hours, or not directly related to their duties.

The rights of employees under the FLSA cannot be waived through bargaining or contracts. You cannot be denied your rights for failure to ask for your FLSA rights.

Work Weeks
Wages are to be calculated on a (work) week to (work) week basis. A work week is seven consecutive days.