Eighty Years Later: The Fair Labor Standards Act


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Eighty years ago, the Fair Labor Standards Act was signed into law – ensuring Americans receive the wages they have earned. 

Eighty years ago today, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was signed, creating the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) at the Department of Labor. This landmark legislation established several long-standing pillars of our modern workplace, including the minimum wage, the 40-hour workweek, and overtime. Though much has changed in the American workplace since 1938, the FLSA endures as a vital piece of legislation that ensures Americans receive wages they have earned.

Today, WHD’s education and enforcement actions work in concert to educate employers about their responsibilities and drive compliance with this law.

The Trump Administration is committed to working with job creators who follow the law. WHD has created new strategies and tools for job creators to ensure they can both comply with the law and correct inadvertent violations. One example is the PAID self-audit program, which allows businesses with such violations to work with WHD to quickly and efficiently pay employees their lost wages. Another helpful tool is the WHD animated training videos, which explain FLSA requirements to employers in plain language.

When violations and bad actors are found, however, WHD rigorously enforces the law. WHD’s data-driven enforcement efforts focus on areas where violations are most likely and most egregious, and where our efforts will have the greatest impact. Last year alone, WHD found more than $270 million in back wages for America’s workers – the second-highest amount ever recorded.

Workers depend on the FLSA to ensure they are paid wages they have earned. Job creators depend on the FLSA to ensure they compete on a level playing field. On this 80th anniversary, and always, WHD’s dedication to its mission remains as steadfast as the day the FLSA was enacted.

For additional information or to speak with a trained WHD professional confidentially, call 1-866-4US-WAGE, or visit www.dol.gov/whd/.

Bryan Jarrett is the Acting and Deputy Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division.


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