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How Do I Know if Wage and Hour Laws Apply to Me? A Quick Guide for Employers and Employees

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) became federal law in 1938, establishing a national minimum wage, requiring time-and-a-half pay for overtime in many jobs, and prohibiting child labor. In Washington, DC, district law requires employers to pay the national minimum wage as established by the FLSA—currently $7.25—plus one dollar. But wage and hour laws do not apply to every business and every worker. The FLSA applies to the following:

  • Hospitals, businesses providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools and preschools, and government agencies, regardless of annual revenue
  • All businesses with annual sales or business of over $500,000
  • Domestic service workers—e.g., housekeepers, full-time nannies, cooks, etc.
  • Everyone whose work involves them in interstate commerce—e.g., people who regularly make out-of-state calls as part of their job, janitors who clean buildings where goods are produced for shipment to out-of-state buyers, and people who travel to other states as part of their jobs

The FLSA does not usually apply to salaried professionals. For example, associates at big law firms may find themselves working extreme amounts of overtime — 80 or 90 hours per week instead of 40 — but will not receive time-and-a-half pay for all the extra hours. And it does not apply to people who regularly receive more than 30 dollars per month in tips, but it does require that such workers be allowed to keep all of their tips.

If you are still not sure how to apply the FLSA law, your best bet is to consult with a qualified employment attorney.

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