Fair Labor Standards Act

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Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29U.S.C.A. § 201 et seq.) was federal legislation enacted in 1938 by Congress, pursuant to its power under the Commerce Clause, that mandated a Minimum Wage and maximum 40-hour work week for employees of those businesses engaged in interstate commerce.

Popularly known as the "Wages and Hours Law," the Fair Labor Standards Act was one of a number of statutes making up the New Deal program of the presidential administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Aside from setting a maximum number of hours that a person could work for the minimum wage, it also established the right of the eligible worker to at least "time and a half"—or one and one-half times the customary pay—for those hours worked in excess of the statutory maximum.

Other provisions of the act forbade the use of workers under the age of 16 in most jobs and prohibited the use of workers under the age of 18 in those occupations deemed dangerous. The act was also responsible for the creation of the Wage and Hour Division of the Labor Department.

Over the years, the Fair Labor Standards Act has been subject to amendment but continues to play an integral role in the U.S. workplace.


Employment Law; Labor Department.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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