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elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses - FLSA Section 14(c) Advisor

Are My Workers with Disabilities Employees?

The FLSA covers employees. It defines an employee as “any individual employed by an employer.” Employ is defined as “to suffer or permit to work.” The concept of employment in the FLSA is very broad and is tested by “economic reality.” The FLSA does not differentiate between workers who do not have disabilities and workers with disabilities employed by a work center, a community rehabilitation center or private industry.

Factors such as the place where the work is performed, the absence of a formal employment agreement, the time or method of payment, and whether an individual is licensed by the state or local government do not in and of themselves determine whether an individual is an employee under the FLSA.

Not all Federal and State laws share common definitions. Therefore, a determination of employment status must be made separately under each law, including the FLSA. For example, if a worker is not an employee for purposes of tax law, he or she may still be an employee under the FLSA.

This section provides information specific to workers with disabilities paid special minimum wages. Select the topic about which you want more information:

Fact Sheet No. 13, Employment Relationship Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides additional general information regarding the employment relationship under the FLSA.

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FLSA Section 14(c) Advisor | Wage and Hour Division