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Burgess Stockwell on Human Resources Issues: Fair Labor Standards Act

As Managing Partner at HRS&G, a human resources and professional management consultancy in Corona del Mar, California, Burgess Stockwell boasts nearly 15 years of experience in the field. She graciously agreed to share her expertise in a few areas of her work, specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Human resources departments frequently work with the FLSA, which governs minimum wage and overtime and helps to define exempt and nonexempt employees. Burgess Stockwell helps employers sort out the FLSA in order to comply with the law.

Question: Can you tell me what the FLSA does?

Burgess Stockwell: The FLSA is a federal law that mandates fair wages for employees. Question: Do all employers have to comply with FLSA, or are there any exceptions? Burgess Stockwell: All employers must comply with the law, regardless of how big the company is, how much money it brings in, or how many employees it has.

Question: Could you outline the basics of the Act for us?

Burgess Stockwell: Well, the FLSA sets the federal minimum wage, which can change from year to year. The law also defines overtime and sets a minimum overtime pay. Some employees are exempt from overtime guidelines, and the law specifies which jobs fall into that category as well. In addition, the FLSA lays out minimum wages and rules for tipped employees, like waiters and hairdressers.

Question: How does the FLSA determine whether an employee is exempt from its regulations?

Burgess Stockwell: Exempt employees need to make at least $455 per week, receive a salary rather than an hourly wage, and perform certain types of jobs. The most common classification of those jobs is “white collar exemptions.” White collar exemptions refer to managers, administrators, and professionals engaged in artistic, scientific, or creative work. Outside salespeople and employees who work on computers are often exempt as well.

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