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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Questions and Answers About the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

WAGES, PAY AND BENEFITS

When are pay raises required?

Pay raises are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and employee (or the employee's representative). Pay raises to amounts above the Federal minimum wage are not required by the FLSA.

Is extra pay required for weekend or night work?

Extra pay for working weekends or nights is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative). The 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.

How are vacation pay, sick pay, holiday pay computed and when are they due?

The FLSA does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or holidays (Federal or otherwise). These benefits are matters of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative).

How is severance calculated and when is it due?

The FLSA requires payment of at least the minimum wage for all hours worked in a workweek and time and one-half an employee's regular rate for time worked over 40 hours in a workweek. There is no requirement in the FLSA for severance pay. Severance pay is a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative).

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) may be able to assist an employee who did not receive severance pay required in his or her employment contract.

When must breaks and meal periods be given?

The 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).

In general, the FLSA does not require breaks or meal periods be given to workers. However, all employers covered by the FLSA must comply with the Act's break time for nursing mothers provision. Please refer to the Wage and Hour Division's Nursing Mothers website to obtain additional information on this topic. Some states may have additional 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).

What must an employer provide to workers who want to express breast milk in the workplace?

Effective March 23, 2010, employers are required under the FLSA to provide unpaid break time and space for nursing mothers to express breast milk for one year after the child's birth. Where employers already provide compensated breaks, an employee who uses that break time to express milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time. See WHD Fact Sheet # 73, Break Time for Nursing Mothers under FLSA. In addition, the FLSA’s general requirement that the employee must be completely relieved from duty or else the time must be compensated as work time applies. See WHD Fact Sheet #22, Hours Worked Under FLSA. Please refer to the Wage and Hour Division's Nursing Mothers website to obtain additional information on this topic.

Are periodic performance evaluations required?

The FLSA does not require performance evaluations. Performance evaluations are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and employee (or the employee's representative).

OVERTIME AND WORK HOURS

When is overtime due?

For covered, nonexempt employees, the 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 fire fighters employed by public agencies and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes.

Some states have also 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).

How many hours per day or per week can an employee work?

The FLSA does not limit the number of hours per day or per week that employees aged 16 years and older can be required to work.

How many hours is full-time employment? How many hours is part-time employment?

The FLSA does not define full-time employment or part-time employment. This is a matter generally to be determined by the employer. Whether an employee is considered full-time or part-time does not change the application of the FLSA.

When can an employee's scheduled hours of work be changed?

The FLSA has no provisions regarding the scheduling of employees, with the exception of certain child labor provisions. Therefore, an employer may change an employee's work hours without giving prior notice or obtaining the employee's consent (unless otherwise subject to a prior agreement between the employer and employee or the employee's representative).

When is double time due?

The FLSA has no requirement for double time pay. This is a matter of agreement between an employer and employee (or the employee's representative).

Is extra pay required for weekend or night work?

Extra pay for working weekends or nights is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative). The 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.

RECORDKEEPING AND NOTICES

Are pay stubs required?

The 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.

What notices must be given before an employee is terminated or laid off?

The FLSA has no requirement for notice to an employee prior to termination or lay-off. In some situations, the WARN Act provides for notice to workers prior to lay-off. Some states may have requirements for employee notification prior to termination or lay-off.