Fair Labor Standards Act

Fair Labor Standards Act Problems That Necessitate the Policy The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 was created in response to unequal and questionable working conditions in America, including child labor, extreme and unsafe working conditions, and a lack of standardized work schedules and pay scales. The FLSA required a 40-cent-an-hour minimum wage, a 40-hour maximum work week, and a minimum working age of 16 for most industries. The FLSA was designed to protect the educational opportunities of minors and the livelihoods of American families by maintaining a living wage for American workers. Facts and statistics: A survey by the Labor Department’s Children’s Bureau in 1937 took a cross section of 449 children in several states and found that nearly one-fourth of them worked 60 hours or longer per week and only one-third worked 40 hours or less a week. The median wage was only $4 a week. Current Policy Description: Who is affected? According to the Department of Labor (DOL) the most recent version of the FLSA (revised in 2011) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor standards that affect full- and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local government. Most private and public employment is affected by the FLSA because it requires employers to pay at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay of one and a half times the regular rate of pay. One-hundred thirty million workers in more than 7 million work places are assisted under the FLSA under two types of coverage determined by the DOL. Employers who have at least two employees and make a minimum of $500,000 a year in revenue qualify for Enterprise Coverage. If the business is not covered, however, the worker can still be covered through Individual Coverage. Employees are protected by the FLSA if their work regularly involves “interstate commerce” such as those sending packages or making phone calls out of state, or traveling for their jobs. Minimum Wage: Federal, state, and local minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour. “Tipped wage workers,” however, are exempt from this minimum because they receive part of their income from the tips they receive from customers. Therefore, tipped wage is set at only $2.13 per hour plus tips. No employer is allowed to discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying men more than women. Equal pay for equal work is expected, but with exceptions. Exceptions include seniority systems and merit systems. The maximum work day is 8 hours during a 40-hour work week. Anything over this is considered overtime. Overtime: According to the DOL, non-exempt employees must receive one and a half times their regular rate of pay for overtime work. Child and Adolescent Labor Laws: According to the DOL youths under age 14 may not be employed in non-agricultural occupations covered by the FLSA. Thirteen- year-olds may act or perform, deliver newspapers, and babysit according to federal law. Youths who are 14 or 15 years old may be employed outside of school hours in “non-hazardous” jobs for limited periods of time. They may work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. when it does not interfere with school hours, up to three hours on a school day, and up to 18 hours in a school week. During school holidays they may work full-time adult hours, that is, up to 8 hours on a non-school day and up to 40 hours in a non-school week. Youths aged 16 to 17 may be employed for unlimited hours in any occupation other than those declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. It is illegal for minors (under age 18) to perform jobs deemed hazardous, including mining, meat packing, operating power-driven machines, roofing, and driving. Record Keeping: The DOL requires that employers keep records of their employees’ information, such as full name, mailing address, birthdate, sex and occupation, hours worked each day and week, hourly pay rate, daily earnings, overtime earnings, total wages paid, date of payment, and all additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages. History of the FLSA Many other policies paved the way for the FLSA including Hammer v. Dangenhart, Adkins v. Children’s Hospital, the New Deal, the National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA), and others. Key players in the FLSA included President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, as well as Senator Hugo Black of Alabama and Representative William Connery of Massachusetts who agreed to sponsor earlier bills on this subject in the Senate and House, respectively. It took 26 rounds and 72 amendments through Congress for the bill to become law, but on June 25, 1938, the FDR administration claimed victory. Most of the amendments had been crafted to weaken the original bill, and in the end the bill predominately favored white citizens. Arguments in favor Arguments in favor of the FLSA describe equal rights for all people, including a minimum wage for all. Wage requirements and over-time pay help maintain equality amongst workers. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would amend the FLSA to increase the federal minimal wage up to $10.10. However, the policy has had little traction in the House and Senate. After it was introduced in the Senate, it was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and has not been seen since. Another argument in favor of the FLSA involves children’s rights to their childhoods and to education. Proponents say no youths should have to choose between school and making money. Arguments against An argument against the FLSA has to do with limited access to paid laborers for American farms. Farmers have few options for laborers and farm hands. Through the 20th century, American family farms were run by farmers and their children, but an FLSA amendment, “Child Labor Requirements in Agricultural Occupations under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” last amended in 2007, severely limited what minors can do on American farms—even those owned and operated by their parents. Under the FLSA, minors under age 16 may be employed outside of school hours, without parental consent, on a farm; but they are disallowed from performing those agricultural tasks considered “hazardous” by the Secretary of Labor. These hazards include operating a standard sized tractor; operating or assisting to operate a myriad of agricultural machines; working in a farm yard, pen, or stall occupied by various animals including a cow with a newborn calf; working from a ladder at a height of over 20 feet; and much more. American farms have become industrialized—little is done without a machine—and with the hazard regulations put forth by the FLSA adolescents, even the children of farmers, cannot assist with the duties of running a farm. Additionally, as more and more Americans attend college and post- graduate programs, there are fewer rural blue collar workers to pick up the slack. Without turning to undocumented workers, farmers have few options when it comes to farm laborers and they believe agricultural jobs should be treated differently by the Secretary of Labor and the FLSA. Policy evaluation At least one-fourth of Americans currently work at jobs that do not pay a living wage. As the cost of living has risen, minimum wage has remained stagnant for several years. A study released in 2014 by Oxfam America, an anti-poverty organization, found that increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour would give roughly 25 million American workers a raise. Nearly one in five workers in every congressional district in America would benefit—about 55,000 people in every district. Raising the minimum wage would also pump money into the economy. When people have more money, they are able to spend more money on goods and services, thus, benefiting the economy. The FLSA is a good policy, but it needs to be updated and amended. The minimum wage is increasingly inadequate for life in modern America. Policy recommendations The FLSA should be amended. The federal minimum wage should be raised to a living wage to improve the lives of Americans and to improve our economy. Child labor laws for agricultural work should be amended to allow adolescents more opportunities for work on farms. As it currently stands, there is little a teenager can do on her parent’s farm in the United States, and that is detrimental to American farmers. References Department of Labor. (2007). Child Labor Requirements In Agricultural Occupations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (Child Labor Bulletin 102). (WH publication 1295). Retrieved from
. Department of Labor. (2009). Fact Sheet #14: Coverage Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Retrieved from
. Department of Labor. (2011). The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, As Amended. (WH publication 1318). Retrieved from
. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 . (2008). Retrieved from
nc/pages/fairlaborstandardsactof1938.aspx . Grossman, J. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938: Maximum Struggle for a Minimum Wage. (1978). Retrieved from
. Offenheiser, R. Why Raise Minimum Wage? (2014). Retrieved from
. Time for a Raise. (2013). Retrieved from
of-raising- the – minimum-wage/ . United States Congress. (2013). S.460 – Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 . Retrieved from
That is the example. Here is my rubric. I want my paper to look like the example above. Paper has to be four pages. I will assign a social welfare policy of national importance to each student in all the Social Welfare Policy and Services Sections. Each student will research her or his assigned policies and write policy backgrounders similar to the examples I have provided in the content section of eCourseware. We will review the policy backgrounders in small groups during class time and provide feedback. When the group is satisfied with the quality of the backgrounders, each student must submit a final electronic copy to the instructor for distribution. The purpose the backgrounder is to give you an understanding of the general process of policy analysis and to create a useful resource on important social welfare and other policy in the US for each student. For safe-keeping, each student must bring a ½ inch binder to store all policy backgrounders. Each policy backgrounder is a maximum of four single-spaced pages including references. You may or not write your name on the policy backgrounder, as you wish. You may be as creative with the design as you wish. Each backgrounder must include:
  • Problem that necessitates the policy
    • What is the problem that this policy is designed to solve?
    • Why does it matter?
    • Facts and statistics about the problem specifically
  • Policy description
    • Describe the policy in its entirety (but succinctly)
    • Use bulletpoints
    • Who benefits, when, how, how much, how often, etc.
  • History of the policy
    • Brief history of how the policy came to be
  • Arguments in favor and against the policy
    • What do those who favor this policy say about it?
    • Why is this a good policy?
    • What do those who oppose this policy say about it?
    • Why is this a bad policy?
  • Policy evaluation including statistics – this is where you say whether this is good, bad, indifferent, inadequate, excessive, etc.
  • Policy recommendations
    • What should we do about this policy?
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