It established a national minimum wage, guaranteed "time and a half" for overtime in certain jobs and prohibited most employment of minors in "oppressive child labor." Children under the age of 18 cannot do certain dangerous jobs, and children under the age of 16 cannot work. 700,000 workers were affected by the FLSA.
The 1947 Portal-to-Portal Act specified exactly what type of time was considered compensable work time. In general, as long as an employee is engaging in activities that benefit the employer, regardless of when they're performed, the employer has an obligation to pay the employee for his or her time. It also specified that travel to and from the work place was a normal incident of employment and shouldn't be considered paid working time. Figure 1
The full effect of the FLSA of 1938 was postponed by the wartime inflation of the 1940s, which lowered wage values to below the level specified in the act. The October 26, 1949 Fair Labor Standards Amendment included changes to overtime compensation, defined a "regular rate," redefined the term "produced," raised the minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents per hour, and extended child labor coverage. In 1955, the FLSA was amended once again to increase minimum wage, this time to $1 per hour. Subsequent amendments have continued to raise the minimum wage level according to inflation.
Generally, employees of a company who does at least $500,000 of business or gross sales in a year will be subject to the FLSA's protections. Several exemptions exist that relieve an employer from having to meet the statutory minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping requirements. The largest exceptions apply to the so-called "white collar" exemptions that are applicable to professional, administrative, and executive employees. Exemptions are narrowly construed; an employer must prove that the employees fit "plainly and unmistakeably" within the exemption's terms.
The FLSA applies to "any individual employed by an employer" but not to independent contractors or volunteers because they are not considered "employees" under the FLSA. Still, an employer cannot simply exempt workers from the FLSA by calling them independent contractors, and many employers have illegally misclassified their workers as independent contractors. Some employers similarly mislabel employees as volunteers. Courts will look at the "economic reality" of the relationship between the putative employer and the worker to determine whether the worker is, in fact, an independent contractor.
Presuming an employee is not exempt from overtime, there are many instances in which overtime is not paid properly, including when an employee is not paid for travel time between job sites, activities before their shift starts or after it ends, and activities to prepare for work that are central to work activities. If an employee is entitled to overtime, they must be paid one and a half times the employee's "regular rate of pay" for all hours worked over 40 in the same work week.