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elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses - Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor

Are My Workers Employees?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) only covers employees. The FLSA defines employee as "any individual employed by  an employer" and employ is defined as including "to suffer or permit to work." The concept of employment in the FLSA is very broad and is tested by "economic reality."

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 have no bearing on whether an individual is an employee under the FLSA.

Remember that not all Federal 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.

The most common misconceptions associated with the employment relationship under the FLSA relate to:

Independent Contractors
Trainees (includes School-to-Work programs)
Volunteers

Click on any of the categories above to find out more.