Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is the minimum wage?

A: The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. The federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many states also have minimum wage laws. Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages. Various minimum wage exceptions apply under specific circumstances to workers with disabilities, full-time students, youth under age 20 in their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment, tipped employees and student-learners.


Q: What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

A: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.


Q: What is the minimum wage for tipped workers?

A: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets a federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009 for covered, nonexempt employees.  An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.

Some states have minimum wage laws specific to tipped employees. When an employee is subject to both the federal and state wage laws, the employee is entitled to the provisions which provides the greater benefits.


Q: Are pay stubs required?

A: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does require that employers keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid to employees. However, the FLSA does not require an employer to provide employees pay stubs.


Q: When is overtime due?

A: For covered, nonexempt employees, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times an employee's regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek. Some exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under special circumstances to police officers and firefighters employed by public agencies and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes. Some states also have enacted overtime laws. Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal overtime laws, the employee is entitled to overtime according to the higher standard (i.e., the standard that will provide the higher rate of pay).


Q: I did't get my last paycheck. What can I do?

A: Employers are not required by federal law to give former employees their final paycheck immediately. Some states, however, may require immediate payment. If the regular payday for the last pay period an employee worked has passed and the employee has not been paid, contact the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division or the state labor department. DOL also has mechanisms in place for the recovery of back wages. In Pennsylvania employer shall pay all regular wages due on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer. Overtime wages are wages earned and payable in the next succeeding pay period.


Q: Is extra pay required for weekend/night work?

A: Extra pay for working weekends or nights is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative). The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require extra pay for weekend or night work. However, the FLSA does require that covered, nonexempt workers be paid not less than time and one-half the employee's regular rate for time worked over 40 hours in a workweek.


Q: Can I be fired for taking legal action against my employer?

A: There are numerous employee protection provisions in place to prevent employers from discharging or otherwise discriminating against any employee for reasonably exercising their rights to take legal action under the law. The employee protection or “whistleblower” laws protect employees from retaliation for “blowing the whistle” on their employers to the proper authorities, when they suspect that their employers are engaged in illegal, unsafe or unhealthy activities according to laws or public policy. More information about whistleblower and retaliation protections can be found on the Department of Labor website at http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/whistle.htm


Q: When must breaks/meal periods be given?

A: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require breaks or meal periods be given to workers. Some states may have requirements for breaks or meal periods. If you work in a state which does not require breaks or meal periods, these benefits are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative).


Q: Do I get paid while on jury duty?

A: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, including jury duty. This type of benefit is generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative).




                     Content is public domain material obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor website.