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Understanding the Fair Labor Standards Act: Tools for Workers and Employers


The text "Fair Labor Standards Act" over a photo of a woman driving a truck for work.

For 82 years, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has protected America’s workers by establishing minimum wage, overtime and child labor standards. While many current occupations of American workers didn’t exist when the FLSA was signed on June 25, 1938, the law is still a critical tool for ensuring workers receive the pay they earned and creating a level playing field for employers to compete.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division enforces the FLSA and provides many resources that help workers and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under the FLSA. Here are a few everyone should know:


  • Our Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act explains which employees are covered by the FLSA, provisions for tipped workers, protections for nursing mothers, and much more.
  • Our timesheet app helps you keep accurate records of hours on the job, including regular work hours, break time, and overtime hours.
  • Our new overtime rule went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, making 1.3 million more American workers eligible for overtime pay. These fact sheets contain more information, including how the rule may impact your occupation.
  • Our user-friendly online Workers Owed Wages system lets you know if you are owed back wages collected by the Wage and Hour Division as a result of an investigation.


Child Labor

  • Our YouthRules! website is a one-stop shop for information and resources on federal child labor rules under the FLSA, providing clear guidance to teens, parents, educators and employers.
  • Our fact sheets provide helpful information on child labor rules in specific industries and activities.
  • Our interactive online resources such as the elaws Advisors help employers evaluate their compliance with and better understand the FLSA’s child labor requirements.

We invite both workers and employers to call us at 1-866-487-9243 or contact us online for confidential assistance on the FLSA and other federal wage and hour laws, including new paid leave protections related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Cheryl Stanton is the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.


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