Protect your rights by understanding the federal laws that establish standards for employees and employers across the country. Minimum wage, child labor laws and discrimination are a few of the topics covered in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Part-time workers are not differentiated from full-time employees under the FLSA. Enforcement of the FLSA is handled by the Employment Standards Administrations's Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
Federal minimum wage laws apply to the employees of businesses with a yearly gross volume of sales over $500,000. The laws also apply to employees working in jobs related to interstate activities such as transportation, communication, or production of goods for interstate commerce. They apply to service workers, such as housekeepers and cooks, who work over eight hours a week or earn more than $1,700 in one year from the business. The FLSA includes many exemptions, such as taxicab drivers and movie theater employees.
Employees must be at least 18 years old to work in hazardous non-farm jobs and at least 16 years old to work in almost all non-farm jobs. Workers 14 and 15 years old may work in most jobs during non-school hours for three hours a day during school weeks, 18 hours in a school week, eight hours in a non-school day and 40 hours in a non-school week.
Part-time employees are treated the same way as full-time workers under the FLSA. The U.S. Department of Labor defines part-time work as 34 or fewer hours a week.
Minimum wage for non-exempt employees is $7.25 per hour, as of July 24, 2009. Employees under 20 years of age must be paid at least $4.25 an hour for their first 90 days of employment. Employees who receive more than $30 a month in tips must be paid at least $2.13 an hour, if their business claims a tip credit. Many states have higher minimum wage rates. Workers must be paid the higher of the two rates.
Businesses may not have sex-based wages for employees working equal jobs. Employee discrimination based on race, religion, color, disability, age, nationality or genetic information is also illegal, enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The WHD enforces the FLSA. First time offenses are criminally prosecuted with fines up to $10,000. Multiple offenses may result in jail time and fines up to $1,100 for each violation. The WHD can be contacted at 1-866-4US-WAGE with questions or complaints.