US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour

The Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (“Wage and Hour”) was created in 1938 with the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  Wage and Hour is responsible for the administration and enforcement of a number of federal laws that govern private and public government employment.

The following laws are enforced by Wage and Hour:

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) of 1938
  • Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
  • Equal Pay Act
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”)
  • Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act
  • Higher Education Act
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act
  • Government Contract Laws
    • Davis-Bacon Act, 1931
    • Walsh Healy Public Contracts Act, 1936
    • Contract Work Hours Standards Act
    • McNamara – O’Hara Service Contract Act

Family Medical Leave Act

A private sector employer with 50+ employees, public agencies, and public and private elementary and secondary schools must comply with the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  An employee will be eligible for FMLA if the employee worked for at least 12 months, has at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12 months prior to FMLA, and employed at a work site with 50 employees within a 75 mile radius.

Unpaid FMLA may run concurrently with paid leave, including Worker’s Compensation, Disability, and Compensatory Time Off (for public sector only).

Employers must comply with certain requirements, including: 1) providing notice; 2) maintaining group health insurance; 3) restoring the employee to the same or equivalent job and benefits; and 4) recordkeeping.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) governs the minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards in the private and public sectors.

Employment Relationship – Employer/Employee Status

Determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor is significant to determine the applicability of FLSA.  The DOL applies the “economic realities” test to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor.

Government Contractors

Contractors and sub-contractors working on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or public work must comply with the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts.  Under these Acts, employers cannot pay laborers and mechanics less than the locally prevailing wage and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area.


The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only. USI does not provide legal or tax advice. For advice specific to your situation, please consult an attorney or other professional.

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