Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), industrial homework (also called "piecework") means the production by any covered person in a home, apartment, or room in a residential establishment, of goods for an employer who permits or authorizes such production, regardless of the source (whether obtained from an employer or elsewhere) of the materials used by the homeworker in producing these items.
The performance of certain types of industrial homework is prohibited under the FLSA unless the employer has obtained prior certification from the Department of Labor. Restrictions apply in the manufacture of knitted outerwear, gloves and mittens, buttons and buckles, handkerchiefs, embroideries, and jewelry, if there are no safety and health hazards. The manufacture of women's apparel (and jewelry under hazardous conditions) is generally prohibited. All individually covered homework is subject to the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements. Employers must provide workers with handbooks to record time, expenses, and pay information.
DOL Web Pages on This Topic
Fact Sheet on Homeworkers Under the FLSA
Provides general information concerning the application of the FLSA to industrial homeworkers.
Fact Sheet on the Employment Relationship Under the FLSA
The FLSA covers homeworkers as employees and entitles them to all benefits of the law.
Bureau of Labor Statistics' Monthly Labor Review (MLR) Article: "Home-Based Workers: Data from the 1990 Census"
Analysis of the home-based worker.
MLR Article: "Work at Home: Data from the Current Population Survey"
Interest in home-based work has grown in recent years. Several towns in the rural west are even recruiting home-based businesses as an economic development strategy.
What Kinds of Work Can Youth Perform?
Information from the elaws FLSA Advisor.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay
Information about minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards.
Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act
Answers many questions about the FLSA and gives information about certain occupations that are exempt from the Act.
Laws & Regulations on This Topic
Title 29, Chap. V, Part 530
Regulations on industrial homework.