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President Franklin D. Roosevelt characterized the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), as “the most far-reaching, far-sighted program for the benefit of workers ever adopted in this or any other country.” A law drafted by Senator Hugo Black of Alabama and signed into law in June 1938, the FLSA was designed to “put a ceiling over hours and a floor under wages” by establishing an eventual maximum 40 weekly work hours, a Minimum Wage of 40 cents an hour by 1945, and prohibiting most Child Labor. The act`s objective was summarized as the “elimination of labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standards of living necessary for health, efficiency and well being of workers.”Before the dawn of the FLSA, John L. Lewis, president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), ordered a series of strikes directed at securing the Closed Shop, establishing the CIO`s exclusive right to represent workers in collective bargaining, and to defend his newly favored sit-down strike tactic.* While such employers as United States Steel Company complied with Lewis`s demands in March 1937, General Motors and Republican Steel contested the new sit-down`s legality, calling for the Michigan courts to rescue their properties by ordering injunctions against sit-down protesters. Those actions caused a further rise in tension between workers and factory owners, until Governor Frank Murphy`s intervention successfully prevented widespread violence in the automotive industries.Later that same year, a bitter strike broke out in South Chicago, where 10 people were killed while police were defending the property of Goodyear Tire. But prior to its final ratification, three different versions were batted around Congress.Nearly 700,000 workers were affected by the wage increase initially and some 13 million more were ultimately affected by the hours provision. Labor unions made efforts to exclude blacks and women from unionized industrial jobs, due to the the latter`s scarcity, and high unemployment during the Depression. Therefore, the FLSA did not affect several million blacks who worked in the agricultural and domestic sectors.The strongest opposition came from the U.S. Supreme Court, which in case after case, had struck down laws establishing a minimum wage, number of hours worked, and child labor provisions. Among the most noteworthy cases, the court struck down a federal child-labor law in 1918 in the case of Hammer v. Dagenhart. Also, in the case of Adkins v. Children`s Hospital the court narrowly struck down the District of Columbia law that established minimum wages for women. Strong opposition to the act also came from Southern congressional members whose constituents thought they would be put out of business by a 25 cents-an-hour minimum wage requirement.As part of the New Deal programs, President Franklin Roosevelt had made promises to effectuate changes in the treatment of workers and was consistently hampered in his efforts by the Supreme Court. During his first administration, Roosevelt nominated as Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, an ardent advocate of labor reform and strong activist against the exploitation of child laborers. Roosevelt also introduced such legislation as the National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA), which absorbed 4,000,000 unemployed people into industrial jobs before it was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court; and the National Employment System Act (1933), which established the U.S. Employment Service.Although the constitutionality of the act was unanimously supported initially by the Supreme Court, the FLSA has been altered and amended on at least 43 subsequent occasions. Most notably, those amendments include:
*In a sit-down strike, workers take possession of a premise and then refuse to leave until demands are met.
A History of the Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (abbreviated as FLSA also referred to as the Wages and Hours Bill) is a federal statute of the United States that changed employment relationships dramatically. The FLSA introduced the forty-hour workweek, established a national minimum wage, guaranteed “time-and-a-half” for overtime in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors in “oppressive child labor”, a term that is defined in the statute. It applies to employees engaged in interstate commerce or employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, unless the employer can claim an exemption from coverage.
The FLSA was originally drafted in 1932 by Senator Hugo Black, who was later appointed to the Supreme Court in 1937. However, Black’s proposal to require employers to adopt a thirty-hour workweek was unpopular with employers who were used to working employees up to 12 hours a day. In 1938 a revised version of Black’s proposal was passed that adopted an eight-hour day and a forty-hour workweek and allowed workers to earn wage for an extra four hours of overtime as well. Children under eighteen were prohibited from certain dangerous jobs, and children under the age of sixteen could work during school hours.
In 1946 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co. that preliminary work activities, where controlled by the employer and performed entirely for the employer’s benefit, are properly included as working time under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In response, Congress passed an amendment to FLSA narrowing the Supreme Court’s decision. The 1947 Portal-to-Portal Act specified exactly what type of time was considered compensable work time.
The full effect of the FLSA of 1938 was postponed by wartime inflation of the 1940s, which lowered wage values to below the level specified in the Act. The October 26, 1949 Fair Labor Standards Amendment included changes to overtime compensation, raised the minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents per hour and extended child labor coverage. It also included a few new exemptions for special worker classes.
In 1955 the FLSA was amended once again to increase minimum wage, this time to one dollar per hour. A 1961 Amendment specified that coverage was automatic for schools, hospitals, nursing homes, or other residential care facilities. Coverage was also automatic for all governmental entities at whatever level of government, no matter how big or small. The minimum wage level was again increased—this time to $1.25 per hour. What could be considered a wage was specifically defined, and entitlement to sue for back wages was granted.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was passed to amend the FLSA and make it illegal to pay workers lower wages strictly on the basis on their sex. It is often summed up with the phrase “equal pay for equal work”.
The 1966 FLSA Amendment expanded coverage to some farm workers and increased the minimum wage to $1.60 per hour in stages. The 1966 FLSA amendment also gave state and local government employees coverage for the first time.
The 1974 FLSA Amendment expanded coverage to include other state and local government employees that were not previously covered. Domestic workers also became covered and the minimum wage was increased to $2.30 per hour in stages.
The 1977 FLSA Amendment increased the minimum wage in yearly increments through 1981 to $3.35 an hour. Changes were made involving tipped employees and the tip credit. Partial overtime exemption was repealed in stages for certain hotel, motel, and restaurant employees.
The amendment to the FLSA enacted in 1985 permitted state and local government employers to compensate their employees’ overtime hours with paid time away from work (compensatory time or “comp time”) in lieu of overtime pay. It also included modifications to ensure that true volunteer activities were not impeded or discouraged.
The 1989 FLSA amendments increased the minimum wage to $4.25 per hour in stages. The 1996 FLSA amendment increased the minimum wage to $5.15 an hour. However, the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, which provided the minimum-wage increase, also detached tipped employees from future minimum-wage increases. Prior to 1996, tipped employees received 50% of the prevailing minimum wage. The tipped employee minimum wage was frozen, under federal law at least, at $2.13 per hour.
On August 23, 2004, controversial changes to the FLSA’s overtime regulations went into effect, making substantial modifications to the definition of an “exempt” employee. Low-level working supervisors throughout American industries were reclassified as “executives” and lost overtime rights. These changes were sought by business interests, which claimed that the laws needed clarification and that few workers would be affected. The Bush administration called the new regulations “FairPay”. But other organizations, such as the AFL-CIO, claimed the changes would make millions of additional workers ineligible to obtain relief under the FLSA for overtime pay. Attempts in Congress to overturn the new regulations were unsuccessful until recently. December 1, 2016, the Department of Labor’s “Final Rule” comes into effect. This rule changes the definitions of those entitled to overtime pay essentially eliminating the low-level working supervisors exemption and allowing individuals earning less than $47,476 to be covered by the FLSA regardless of their job title.
If you have questions about the FLSA, or how it may affect you individually or your business, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Employment Law attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at [email protected] . We will answer your Idaho Employment Law questions and will help you solve your Idaho Employment Law problems.
This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.
What Labor Conditions Were Like Before The FLSA
Stephen Koppekin has specialized in resolving and negotiating employment issues for over forty years, using his vast knowledge of comparative economics, law, and dispute resolution to support him. Stephen enjoys writing about the latest labor topics on his websites.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938. It establishes a minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers. For the past 80 years, this law has protected employees from labor abuse like poor wages, long hours, and child labor.
This was a landmark law for American workplaces. But, imagine what the typical workplace looked like before the FLSA was signed into law:
There were poor wages.
Before FLSA, bosses could pay workers as much or as little as they wanted — meaning bosses could pocket as much profit as they wanted. Most wages weren’t very livable, meaning almost everyone in the family, including children, had to work to keep the family afloat. It wasn’t until the FLSA was passed that workers were paid at least .25 per hour, regardless of what industry they worked in.
There were long hours.
If you thought working eight hours a day was long, try working for eleven, twelve, or thirteen hours per day. For the first 100 years of our country’s existence, many workplaces forced their workers to work for these unbelievably long hours. There was a lot of pushback to cut down working hours to just 10 hours a day, however. For example:
- In 1791, the first strike for the 10-hour workday bill was adopted by Philadelphia carpenters.
- In 1835, there was a general strike for the 10-hour workday in Philadelphia.
- In 1843, the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association begins public petitioning for the 10-hour workday.
It wasn’t until 1847 that the state of New Hampshire enacted the first state-mandated, 10-hour-day law. This was a full 56 years after the issue was first brought to light. Even with this law in place, quite a few employees around the country worked for long hours during the week. In 1890, the average workweek for full-time manufacturing employees was 100 hours. For building tradesmen, it was 102 hours. It wasn’t until 1938 that Congress passed the FLSA, which limited the workweek to 44 hours. Finally in 1940, Congress amended the FLSA and limited the workweek to 40 hours.
It was definitely a long journey to get to that point — about 150 years!
There was child labor.
Child labor was often used throughout history. However, it reached new extremes during the Industrial Revolution, when children were forced to work long hours at the cost of their education. Day after day, children worked in dangerous factory conditions for very little money. Employers found them useful because their size allowed them to fit in small spaces and they could be paid less than adults.
The FLSA child labor provisions are designed to protect the educational opportunities of minors and prohibit their employment in jobs detrimental to their health or well-being. Under this act, children are not allowed to work until the age of 14 (with some exceptions like farm work or acting), and there are restrictions on how long children can work during the school year.
With all these terrible working conditions, the FLSA came to save the American worker in the early twentieth century.
Stephen Koppekin is the founder and CEO of Koppekin Consulting, Inc. An experienced former executive who spent decades overseeing industrial relations and workplace safety for major businesses in the entertainment industry, Stephen started his own independent consulting business shortly after retiring. He uses 43 years of experience in labor and employment, during which time he worked at two major entertainment corporations and in government agency National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to support a diverse client set.
The FLSA After 80 Years, Part I: Major Changes, Current Compliance Concerns, and Possible Revisions
Since its passage in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has had&mdashand continues to have&mdasha remarkable impact on the workplace through requirements that most employees are entitled to at least a minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime premium pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. This year marks the 80 th anniversary of the enactment of the FLSA, and there&rsquos a lot that has changed in the last eight decades. This article will address some of those changes, current areas of concern for employers, and revisions that are likely to be made in the near future.
What are some of the key changes to the FLSA since its enactment?
Among the many changes to the FLSA, the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947 is the most significant. It addressed certain employee activities to clarify what constitutes &ldquohours worked&rdquo under the FLSA, among its other provisions.
Other significant amendments include the 2000 amendment to exclude stock options and appreciation rights from an employee&rsquos regular rate, the Employee Commuting Flexibility Act passed in 1996, the 1990 amendment to add a computer employee exemption as section 13(a)(17) of the FLSA, the 90-day training wage for youth under 20 that became effective in 1990, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the 1974 amendment extending the FLSA to domestic service or household employees, and a series of amendments in the 1970s that applied the FLSA to public sector employees of state and local governments and other public entities.
The U.S. Department of Labor&rsquos (DOL) 2004 revisions to the Part 541 regulations resulted in some of the most notable changes to the FLSA during the past 20 years. In particular, the DOL eliminated the old &ldquoshort&rdquo and &ldquolong&rdquo tests for analyzing the duties requirements for several of the white collar exemptions and replaced them with a single test for each exemption. In addition, the DOL raised the minimum salary level for the major white collar exemptions to $455 per week, which is where it remains today.
The explosion of FLSA litigation over the past 20 years also is notable. Despite its long history, the FLSA has not always been a hotbed for lawsuits. Today, however, the plaintiffs&rsquo employment bar actively pursues FLSA collective actions, which have become a major source of potential exposure for employers.
What are some of the compliance areas employers struggle with under the FLSA? What can employers do to ensure compliance?
Maintaining accurate records of hours worked by nonexempt employees and prohibiting off-the-clock work have always created challenges for employers. As the concept of the workplace has changed, these challenges have increased. Today, people often have the ability to perform work wherever and whenever they have an internet and/or mobile phone connection. Well-crafted policies, training, and enforcement regarding off-the-clock work are keys to compliance.
Determining whether an employee is exempt or nonexempt is another common FLSA issue for employers. With respect to exempt status, the FLSA&rsquos administrative exemption creates the most confusion for employers and employees. Employers want to carefully analyze whether all requirements for the administrative exemption are met when evaluating an employee&rsquos status. In addition, job duties often change over time, so employers want to be vigilant in determining whether such changes have an impact on an employee&rsquos exempt status.
Which parts of the FLSA are likely to be modified in the near future?
Predicting the future activities of Congress is difficult in and of itself, so trying to predict what Congress may pass to change the FLSA in the future is even more challenging. As the United States economy continues to evolve, one change hopefully would be the creation of a hybrid &ldquoindependent contractor-employee&rdquo status to accommodate today&rsquos on-demand economy. There are efforts underway to amend the FLSA to recognize an &ldquoindependent employee&rdquo or &ldquointermediary employee.&rdquo Other areas for improving the FLSA include updating the section 13(a)(1) exemptions, revising the section 7(i) retail or service establishment overtime exemption, and allowing for more flexible work arrangements without undermining the overtime protections of the FLSA.
In 2016, the DOL issued a final rule that would have increased the minimum salary level for the major white collar exemptions to $913 per week, but those regulatory changes were invalidated by a federal court. There seems to be widespread agreement that a less drastic increase in the minimum salary level is warranted, but we don&rsquot know for sure when new proposed regulations or final regulations will be issued, or how such regulations will fare in the courts. The DOL&rsquos spring 2018 regulatory agenda projects a January 1, 2019 date for a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning the setting of a new salary level.
This is part one of a three-part series commemorating the 80 th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Part two, &ldquoThe FLSA After 80 Years, Part II: Eight Decades of the Fair Labor Standards Act,&rdquo reviews the history of the FLSA, including amendments, proposals, and areas of potential reform. Part three, &ldquoThe FLSA After 80 Years, Part III: The Tip Credit Is Here To Stay,&rdquo discusses the history of the tip credit, tip credit requirements, recent changes to tip credit law, and potential pitfalls for employers paying a tip credit wage.
29 CFR § 784.102 - General legislative history.
(a) As orginally enacted in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act provided an exemption from both the minimum wage requirements of section 6 and the overtime pay requirements of section 7 which was made applicable to “any employee employed in the catching, taking, harvesting, cultivating, or farming of any kind of fish, shellfish, crustacea, sponges, seaweeds or other aquatic forms of animal and vegetable life, including the going to and returning from work and including employment in the loading, unloading, or packing of such products for shipment or in propagating, processing, marketing, freezing, canning, curing, storing, or distributing the above products or by products thereof” (52 Stat. 1060, sec. 13(a)(5)).
(b) In 1949 the minimum wage was extended to employees employed in canning such products by deleting the word “canning” from the above exemption, adding the parenthetical phrase “(other than canning)” after the word “processing” therein, and providing a new exemption in section 13(b)(4), from overtime pay provisions only, applicable to “any employee employed in the canning of any kind of fish, shellfish, or other aquatic forms of animal or vegetable life, or any byproduct thereof”. All other employees included in the original minimum wage and overtime exemption remained within it (63 Stat. 910).
(c) By the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1961, both these exemptions were further revised to read as set forth in §§ 784.100 and 784.101. The effect of this change was to provide a means of equalizing the application of the Act as between canning employees and employees employed in other processing, marketing, and distributing of aquatic products on shore, to whom minimum wage protection, formerly provided only for canning employees, was extended by this action. The 1961 amendments, however, left employees employed in fishing, in fish farming, and in related occupations concerned with procurement of aquatic products from nature, under the existing exemption from minimum wages as well as overtime pay.
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
When the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was first proposed, it was 1937, and the Great Depression was still raging across the country. The proposal was to enforce a new minimum wage for certain workers, and to establish a 30-hour work week that would allow workers ample free time for rest and relaxation. It was just one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s many pieces of legislature during his New Deal project, which was meant to help revitalize the country’s economy.
A year had passed since the act was proposed, and Congress had made many changes. Despite the constant re-writes, such as altering the 30-hour work week into a 44-hour work week, there was still a fear that it would not get the votes it needed to pass. In order to avoid this, President Roosevelt signed the bill into law himself. Thus, the minimum wage in America was born.
At the time, the minimum wage was set at 25 cents an hour, meaning that workers who worked a full 44-hour week would pull in just $11 a week. That may seem like a small amount now, but back then workers were often paid pennies for their labor, especially since employers could exploit the desperation caused by the Depression. Workers had little negotiating power since the unemployment rates had skyrocketed, and employees could easily and quickly be replaced if they asked for a raise.
This kind of instability led to many workers being exploited and forced to work long and brutal hours. It was not uncommon in that time period for people to work 12 hours or more in a day, and never be given a day off. Again, workers who complained or demanded better treatment could easily be let go in favor of someone who was more willing to do the work for less money. This exploitation of workers only made the problem worse, leaving even those able to work without enough money to support their families or buy goods or services from other businesses, which hurt the economy even more.
Eventually, with a great deal of work put in by FDR through his New Deal, as well as economic stimulation from World War II, America managed to pull itself out of the Great Depression. However, the FLSA is still incredibly influential today, and all American workers owe their rights to this piece of legislation.
H.R.3530 - Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1985 99th Congress (1985-1986)
Shown Here: Passed House amended (10/28/1985)
Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1985 - Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (the Act) to allow State, local, or interstate government employees to receive, in lieu of overtime compensation, compensatory time off at a rate not less than one and one-half hours for each hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required by the Act.
Allows a public agency to provide such compensatory time only pursuant to: (1) applicable provisions of a collective bargaining agreement between the public agency and representatives of such employees or (2) in the case of employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, an agreement or understanding arrived at between the employer and the employee before the performance of the work. Provides that, in the case of employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement and hired prior to April 15, 1986, the regular practice in effect on such date with respect to compensatory time off in lieu of overtime compensation shall constitute such an agreement or understanding.
Limits the amount of such compensatory time which public employees may accrue after April 15, 1985, to 180 hours or 480 hours in the case of work which include a public safety activity, an emergency response activity, or a seasonal activity. Requires that if compensation is paid to such employee for accrued compensatory time off such compensation be paid at the regular rate earned by the employee at the time of payment. Requires that, upon termination of such employment, the unused compensatory time off be paid for at a rate not less than the average regular rate received by such employee during the last three years of employment.
Requires that public employees who have accrued such compensatory time and requested its use be permitted to use it within a reasonable period after making such request if its use does not unduly disrupt the operations of the public agency.
Provides that a collective bargaining agreement which is in effect on April 15, 1986, and which permits compensatory time off in lieu of overtime compensation shall remain in effect until its expiration date unless otherwise modified, except that compensatory time shall be provided after April 14, 1986, in accordance with this Act.
Provides that States, local governments, and interstate governmental agencies shall not be liable for specified overtime and related paperwork violations under the Act which occur before April 15, 1986, with respect to employees who would not have been covered by the Act under the Secretary of Labor's special enforcement policy in effect on January 1, 1985.
Permits States, local governments, or interstate governmental agencies to defer until August 1, 1986, the payment of monetary overtime compensation under the Act for hours of employment after April 14, 1986.
Adds provisions relating to special detail work for fire protection and law enforcement (including prison security) employees of State, local, or intergovernmental agencies. Provides that those hours on special detail work for a separate or independent employer shall be excluded by the public agency in the calculation of overtime compensation, if the employee agrees, solely at the employee's option, to perform such special detail work and if the public agency: (1) requires that its employees engaged in fire protection, law enforcement, or security activities be hired by a separate and independent employer to perform the special detail (2) facilitates the employment of such employees by a separate and independent employer or (3) otherwise affects the conditions of employment of such employees by a separate and independent employer.
Provides that an employee's hours of part-time employment with a public agency in a substantially different capacity from the employee's regular full-time employment with such agency shall be excluded from the calculation of overtime compensation, if such part-time employment is undertaken on an occasional and sporadic basis and solely at the employee's option.
Adds provisions relating to substitution work by and for fire protection and law enforcement (including prison security) employees of State, local, and intergovernmental agencies. Provides that those hours of substitution during scheduled work hours for a fellow employee shall be excluded by the public agency in the calculation of the substituting employee's overtime compensation, if such employee agrees to perform such substitute work with the public agency's approval and solely at the employee's option. Provides that the employer may not be required to keep a record of the hours of such substitute work under certain overtime recordkeeping requirements under the Act.
Revises the definition of "employee" under the Act to exclude any individual who volunteers to perform services for a State, local, or interstate governmental agency, if: (1) the individual receives no compensation or is paid expenses, reasonable benefits, or a nominal fee to perform the services for which the individual volunteered and (2) such services are not the same type of services which the individual is employed to perform for such public agency. Permits State, local, and interstate government agency employees to volunteer to perform services for any other State, local, or interstate governmental agency, including one with which the employing agency has a mutual aid agreement. Directs the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations to carry out such provisions relating to volunteers by March 15, 1986.
Provides that, if before April 15, 1986, a public agency's practice was to treat certain persons as volunteers, then such persons shall be considered volunteers and not employees for purposes of the Act until April 15, 1986. Provides that no State, local government, or interstate governmental agency shall be liable for a violation of minimum wage requirements under the Act occurring before April 15, 1986, with respect to services performed for the public agency by any individual who performed such services as a volunteer.
Revises the definition of "employee" to exclude from coverage under the Act State and local legislative employees who are not legislative library employees.
Makes the amendments made by this Act effective on April 15, 1986, but directs the Secretary of Labor to promulgate before such date regulations to implement such amendments.
Prohibits construing such amendments as affecting whether a State, local government, or interstate governmental agency is liable under penalty provisions of the Act for violations wage, overtime, or paperwork requirements occurring before April 15, 1986, with respect to any employee who would have been covered by by the Act under the Secretary of Labor's special enforcement policy in effect on January 1, 1985.
Requires that a State, local government, or interstate governmental agency be held to have violated specified provisions of the Act if it discriminates or has discriminated against an employee with respect to wages or other terms or conditions of employment because on or after February 19, 1985, the employee asserted coverage under overtime provisions of the Act.
In the United States workers generally must be paid no less than the statutory minimum wage. As of July 2009, the federal government mandates a nationwide minimum wage level of $7.25 per hour, while some states and municipalities have set minimum wage levels higher than the federal level, with the highest state minimum wage being $9.47 per hour in Washington as of January 1, 2015.  Among those paid by the hour in 2013, 1.5 million were reported as earning exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage. About 1.8 million were reported as earning wages below the minimum. Together, these 3.3 million workers with wages at or below the minimum represent, respectively: 1.0% of the population, 1.6% of the labor force, 2.5% of all workers, and 4.3% of hourly workers.  Many states already have a state minimum wage higher than the existing federal minimum wage.
The major economic schools of thought - Classical economics, Keynesian economics, and the Austrian School - disagree about the importance and the effects of the minimum wage. According to a paper written in 2000 by Fuller and Geide-Stevenson, 73.5% (27.9% of which agreed with provisos) of American economists agreed that a minimum wage increases unemployment among unskilled and young workers, while 26.5% disagreed with this statement.  Some economic research has shown that restaurant prices rise in response to minimum wage increases.  Overall, there is no consensus between economists about the effects of minimum wages on youth employment, although empirical evidence suggests that this group is most vulnerable to high minimum wages.  However, new evidence for workers that were bound by the minimum wage suggests a distinct negative impact on employment and income growth.  
This summary is based largely on the summary provided by the Congressional Research Service, a public domain source. 
The Minimum Wage Fairness Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to: (1) $8.20 an hour beginning on the first day of the sixth month after the enactment of this Act, (2) $9.15 an hour beginning one year after the date of such initial increase, (3) $10.10 an hour beginning two years after such date, and (4) the amount determined by the United States Secretary of Labor (based on increases in the Consumer Price Index) beginning three years after such date and annually thereafter. 
The bill would increase the federal minimum wage for tipped employees to $3.00 an hour for one year beginning on the first day of the sixth month after the enactment of this Act. The bill would provide a formula for subsequent annual adjustments of the minimum wage for tipped employees until it equals 70% of the wage in effect under FLSA for other employees. 
The bill would direct the Secretary of Labor, 60 days before any increase in the minimum wage, to publish it in the Federal Register and on the United States Department of Labor's website. 
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to extend through taxable years beginning before 2017: (1) the increase to $500,000 of the expensing allowance for business assets, including computer software and (2) the treatment of qualified real property (i.e., leasehold improvement property, restaurant property, and retail improvement property) as depreciable business property. 
This summary is based largely on the summary provided by the Congressional Budget Office, as introduced in the Senate on November 19, 2013. This is a public domain source. 
S. 1737 would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage in three steps from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour, and to adjust the wage annually thereafter to account for inflation. In addition, the bill would increase the federal minimum cash wage for workers who receive tips by gradually raising that wage until it equals 70 percent of the federal minimum wage for other workers. Finally, S. 1737 would amend the Internal Revenue Code to extend through 2016 an increased limitation on the amount of investment that firms can immediately deduct from their taxable income—a limitation that mostly affects small- to medium-sized businesses. 
The Minimum Wage Fairness Act was introduced into the United States Senate on November 19, 2013 by Sen. Tom Harkin (D, IA).  On April 8, 2014, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate would not vote on the bill until three weeks later after a two-week April recess. 
The delay of the Senate vote on the bill was attributed to Reid's inability to get all members of the Democratic party in the Senate to agree to vote in favor of the bill.  Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) opposed the bill.  Pryor was up for election in 2014 and was considered "the Senate's most vulnerable incumbent."  Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) preferred legislation that would have a greater chance of becoming law, such as an increase to only $9 an hour.  Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) expressed a willingness to negotiate with Republicans about some of the provisions of the bill, such as the timeline for the phase-in.  Warner said that any increase needs to be done "in a responsible way." 
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) wanted additional debate on the timeline and the raise for tipped workers.  Landrieu said that "I do not believe that $10.10 an hour is too high to aspire to, but how quickly we get there and what increments, the tipped wage, how that should be handled, who should get paid the tipped wage, and who shouldn't. There are a lot of questions about that, and some of those discussions are going on." 
President Barack Obama strongly supported increasing the minimum wage, giving speeches about it urging Congress to take action.  Obama argued that "if you pay people well, there's more money in everybody's pockets, and everybody does better." 
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report that an "estimate half a million jobs would be lost if lawmakers passed the president's proposal" to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.  Spokesman Brendan Buck for Speaker of the House John Boehner said in reaction that "the president's plan would increase costs for consumers and eliminate jobs for those who need them the most" so the House would "continue focusing on our plan to protect workers' hours and create jobs, not the president's plan to destroy them." 
The National Retail Federation (NRF) opposed the bill, saying that "raising the standard of living for low-skill, low-wage workers is a valid goal," but that "there is clear evidence that mandate wage hikes undermine the job prospects for less skilled and part-time workers."  The trade group also argued that this was the "least opportune moment" to increase the minimum wage because employers were still dealing the fallout of changes they needed to make because of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). 
Senate Republican Susan Collins (R-ME) tried to negotiate a compromise that centrist Republicans could agree to, but was unable to do so.  Several Republicans, such as Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Rob Portman (R-OH), noted that their states already have minimum wages higher than the federally-mandated level and thought that the minimum wage should be left up to the states. Heller said "I think there is a difference between North and South, East and West on what those minimum wages ought to be."  Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) said he would not vote for the bill or a compromise.  Collins' tried to argue that the Congressional Budget Office report predicting 500,000 jobs lost if the minimum wage was increased to $10.10 also said that an increase to $9.00 would only lead to 100,000 jobs lost, but the argument did not seem to persuade her fellow centrists.  Collins said "I'm confident that the votes are not there to pass a minimum wage increase up to $10.10, therefore, it seems to me to make sense for senators on both sides of the aisle to get together and see if we can come up with a package that would help low-income families without causing the kind of job loss that the Congressional Budget Office has warned against." 
- ^ abcdef"S. 1737 - Summary". United States Congress . Retrieved April 8, 2014 .
- ^ abcde
- Sink, Justin (April 2, 2014). "Obama: Congress has 'clear choice' on minimum wage". The Hill . Retrieved April 9, 2014 .
- ^ abcdefgh
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This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Government.
Where Did the 40-Hour Workweek Come From?
The realization of the 40-hour workweek that has become standard across many American industries was hard fought. It took deadly accidents, employees banding together and a White House willing to listen to make it happen.
“It’s not just one incident, but it was a culmination of many events and many struggles that allowed this to become law,” said Angelica Santomauro, executive director of the American Labor Museum in Haledon, New Jersey.
Eight-hour days became rallying cries in the latter half of the 19th century, as workers in the building trades and similar industries marched together for better conditions. The Ford Motor Company advanced the idea in 1914, when it scaled back from a 48-hour to a 40-hour workweek after founder Henry Ford believed that too many hours were bad for workers’ productivity.
The formation of unions helped to strengthen the idea of working five days a week as well. In 1937, auto plant workers staged a sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan, to protest bleak conditions at General Motors that included no bathroom breaks, no benefits or sick pay and no safety standards.
The negotiations between GM and the United Auto Workers ultimately improved working conditions. The federal government would show its support when Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, a key part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Many historians credit Roosevelt’s labor secretary, Frances Perkins, for championing the cause. Perkins was in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village in 1911 on the day of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Almost 150 garment workers, mostly women and immigrants, were trapped and killed when the building caught fire. The exits had been blocked — a common practice at the time.
“She saw the young girls jumping out of the window,” Santomauro said. “This, I’m sure, opened her heart about the plight of the workers. That really stayed with her.”
Aside from the 40-hour workweek, the Fair Labor Standards Act also included several reforms in place that Americans can appreciate to this day — establishing a minimum wage, overtime pay and putting an end to “oppressive” forms of child labor.
Proponents of the Paycheck Fairness Act consider it an extension of the laws established by the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which makes it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work. In order to find an employer in violation of the Equal Pay Act, a plaintiff must prove that "(1) the employer pays different wages to employees of the opposite sex (2) the employees perform equal work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility and (3) the jobs are performed under similar working conditions." Even if the individual makes each of these showings, the defendant employer may avoid liability by proving that the wage disparity is justified by one of four affirmative defenses—that is, that the employer has set the challenged wages pursuant to "(1) a seniority system (2) a merit system (3) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production or (4) a differential based on any other factor other than sex." 
Fifty years after the law's passage, a median earnings gap still exists between men and women. According to U.S. News & World Report, the Paycheck Fairness Act is meant to close this gap by:
- "making wages more transparent"
- "requiring that employers prove that wage discrepancies are tied to legitimate business qualifications and not gender"
- and "prohibiting companies from taking retaliatory action against employees who raise concerns about gender-based wage discrimination." 
The bill was first introduced in 1997,  and has been reintroduced to congress many times, including:
The United States Senate failed to move the bill forward in November 2010.  The 2010 bill had no Republican Party co-sponsors, though a group of four Republican senators had supported an earlier bill to address gender-based wage discrimination, including Susan Collins, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Lisa Murkowski, and Olympia Snowe.  The 2010 Senate version of the bill had the support of the Obama administration and that of Democrats in the Senate. The American Civil Liberties Union supported S.182, citing the 2008 data from the United States Census Bureau that women's median annual earnings were 77.5% of the male median, African-American women's median annual earnings were 64% of the white male median, and Hispanic women's median annual earnings were 54% of the white male median.  The American Association of University Women also supported the bill, citing the organization's 2007 research report, Behind the Pay Gap, which showed that women earn less than their male colleagues just one year out of college. The pay gap has widened 10 years after graduation. 
President Barack Obama said in March 2011 that he will continue to fight for the goals in the Paycheck Fairness Act.  The bill was reintroduced in both houses of Congress in April 2011. 
On June 5, 2012, the bill fell short of the 60 votes necessary to override a filibuster and did not make it to the Senate floor for debate. The vote went along party lines, excluding a vote against by Democrat Harry Reid. (Senator Reid changes his vote as a procedural maneuver, which left Democrats the option to call up the bill again at a later time.) 
On April 9, 2014, in another straight-party-line vote, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199 113th Congress) was again blocked by a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Once again, Senator Reid changed his vote from support to oppose, as a tactical maneuver to keep the bill alive. The Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced into the United States Senate on April 1, 2014 by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).  The bill was not referred to any committees. On April 9, 2014, a vote to end the debate on the bill failed in a 53-44 vote, when 60 votes were needed.  All of the Republicans voted against ending the debate.  The bill was introduced into the United States Senate during the 113th United States Congress. On April 9, 2014, it failed an important vote to end debate on the bill. 
On June 10, 2021, the bill was filibustered on a 49-50 vote, with all Democrats voting for cloture and Republicans voting against cloture, with one Democrat not voting.
This summary is based largely on the summary provided by the Congressional Research Service, a public domain source. 
The Paycheck Fairness Act would amend the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) known as the Equal Pay Act to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages. 
The bill would revise the exception to the prohibition for a wage rate differential based on any other factor other than sex. It would limit such factors to bona fide factors, such as education, training, or experience. 
The bill would state that the bona fide factor defense shall apply only if the employer demonstrates that such factor: (1) is not based upon or derived from a sex-based differential in compensation, (2) is job-related with respect to the position in question, and (3) is consistent with business necessity. Makes such defense inapplicable where the employee demonstrates that: (1) an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing such differential, and (2) the employer has refused to adopt such alternative practice. 
The bill would revise the prohibition against employer retaliation for employee complaints. Prohibits retaliation for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of the employee or another employee in response to a complaint or charge, or in furtherance of a sex discrimination investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, or an investigation conducted by the employer. 
The bill would make employers who violate sex discrimination prohibitions liable in a civil action for either compensatory or (except for the federal government) punitive damages. 
The bill would state that any action brought to enforce the prohibition against sex discrimination may be maintained as a class action in which individuals may be joined as party plaintiffs without their written consent. 
The bill would authorize the United States Secretary of Labor (Secretary) to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action. 
The bill would require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to train EEOC employees and affected individuals and entities on matters involving wage discrimination. 
The bill would authorize the Secretary to make grants to eligible entities for negotiation skills training programs for girls and women. Directs the Secretary and the United States Secretary of Education to issue regulations or policy guidance to integrate such training into certain programs under their Departments. 
The bill would direct the Secretary to conduct studies and provide information to employers, labor organizations, and the general public regarding the means available to eliminate pay disparities between men and women. 
The bill would establish the Secretary of Labor's National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace for an employer who has made a substantial effort to eliminate pay disparities between men and women. 
The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to require the EEOC to collect from employers pay information data regarding the sex, race, and national origin of employees for use in the enforcement of federal laws prohibiting pay discrimination. 
The bill would direct: (1) the Commissioner of Labor Statistics to continue to collect data on woman workers in the Current Employment Statistics survey, (2) the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to use specified types of methods in investigating compensation discrimination and in enforcing pay equity, and (3) the Secretary to make accurate information on compensation discrimination readily available to the public. 
The bill would direct the Secretary and the Commissioner [sic] of the EEOC jointly to develop technical assistance material to assist small businesses to comply with the requirements of this Act. 
Democrats said they intended to use the votes on this bill and the issue of equal pay as political issues in the 2014 midterm elections.  Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) told reporters that "pay equity, that's women, that's 53 percent of the vote."  In 2012, Democrats did better than Republicans among women voters. 
Senator Mikulski said that "it brings tears to my eyes to know women are working so hard and being paid less" and that "it makes me emotional when I hear that. I get angry, I get outraged and I get volcanic." 
Republicans gave several different reasons for voting against ending debate. One reason for their opposition, given by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), was that Majority Leader Harry Reid had refused to allow votes on any of the amendments that Republicans had suggested for the bill.  Republicans also objected because it would strongly benefit trial lawyers and would "remove caps on punitive damages against businesses found guilty of discrimination."  Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the legislation would "line the pockets of trial lawyers" not help women. 
The National Women's Law Center makes the following case for the Paycheck Fairness Act:
- Like Title VII, the Paycheck Fairness Act will direct courts to scrutinize seemingly neutral pay practices to determine whether they actually serve a legitimate business purpose and whether there are comparable alternatives that will not result in gender-based pay disparities. 
- First, the Act requires that the "factor other than sex" defense be based on a bona fide factor, such as education, training, or experience, that is not based upon or derived from a sex-based differential.
- Second, the "factor other than sex" must be job-related to the position in question.
- Third, the "factor other than sex" must be consistent with business necessity.
- In addition, the defense will not apply if the employee can demonstrate that an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing a pay differential and the employer has refused to adopt the alternative.
- Requiring employers to justify any decision not to pay workers equal wages for doing substantially equal work is reasonable in light of the Equal Pay Act's goal to uncover discrimination and the unspecific nature of the "factor other than sex" defense. Moreover, the Paycheck Fairness Act does not alter the safeguards embedded in the Equal Pay Act that ensure that employers have appropriate discretion in setting compensation in nondiscriminatory ways.
- The Paycheck Fairness Act, like the Equal Pay Act, still requires employees to meet an exceptionally high burden before an employer need even offer an affirmative defense. An Equal Pay Act plaintiff must identify a comparable male employee who makes more money for performing equal work, requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions. The Paycheck Fairness Act does not alter the other three of the four affirmative defenses available to employers. Thus, employers may still pay different wages to male and female employees performing equal work if the pay decision is based on merit, seniority, or quantity or quality of production. The Paycheck Fairness Act allows employers to raise the business necessity defense, which is a concept imported from Title VII and familiar to employers and courts.
- Some courts have interpreted the "factor other than sex" defense under the Equal Pay Act to require only that an employer articulate some ostensibly nondiscriminatory basis for its decision-making, even if the employer's rationale is ultimately a proxy for sex-based pay disparities.  As one court has noted, requiring that the "factor other than sex" defense rely upon a legitimate business reason prevents employers "from relying on a compensation differential that is merely a pretext for sex discrimination—e.g., determining salaries on the basis of an employee's height or weight, when those factors have no relevance to the job at issue."  The Paycheck Fairness Act is intended to provide a means to assess whether employers are setting wages based on an employee's sex or on legitimate rationales tethered to business needs and the particular job in question. 
A 2009 CONSAD Research Corporation study prepared for the US Department of Labor cautioned against misinterpretation of census and other wage data, suggesting that the wage gap between the sexes was not due to systematic discrimination:
Although additional research in this area is clearly needed, this study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers. 
Christina Hoff Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, criticized the proposed law, citing the study. 
Columnist Daniel Fisher criticized the legislation in Forbes magazine, pointing out that eliminating the "reason other than sex" defense used by employers under existing law would mean that wage differences based on an individual's salary history and negotiating skills would be treated as evidence of discrimination, even if the employer's actions were not based on gender.  According to Fisher, the act "eliminates the 'reason other than sex' defense and substitutes instead a requirement that the employer prove that its pay practices are divorced from any discrimination in its workplace or at the employee's prior workplace, that the pay practice is job related, and that it is consistent with "business necessity." 
- ^ U.S. Census Bureau. Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data From the 2007 American Community Survey. August 2008, p. 14.
- ^ Goldin, Claudia (2014). "A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter" (PDF) . American Economic Review. 104 (4): 1091–1119. CiteSeerX10.1.1.708.4375 . doi:10.1257/aer.104.4.1091.
- ^ abcdefghijklm
- Ramsey Cox Alexander Bolton (9 April 2014). "Senate GOP blocks paycheck bill". The Hill . Retrieved 9 April 2014 .
- ^ 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1) (2006)
- "Should the Senate Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act?". usnews.com.
- Allen Young (26 Aug 2015). "Why California's GOP supports an equal pay bill". Sacramento Business Journal . Retrieved 1 Jan 2016 .
- Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154 p:225-7000, DC 20515-6601 (2008-07-31). "Roll Call 556 Roll Call 556, Bill Number: H. R. 1338, 110th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives . Retrieved 2021-02-17 .
- ^"Rights groups urge Paycheck Fairness Act passing", The Louisiana Weekly, September 20, 2010. Accessed September 22, 2010. Archived September 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ ab"Senate kills Paycheck Fairness Act" "United Press International. November 17, 2010. Accessed February 8, 2010.
- ^ ab
- Jennifer Bendery (June 5, 2012). "Paycheck Fairness Act Fails Senate Vote". Huffington Post . Retrieved 2012-07-31 .
- Byrnes, Jesse (2019-03-27). "House passes Paycheck Fairness Act". TheHill . Retrieved 2021-02-17 .
- Connley, Courtney (2021-04-16). "President Biden says closing gender pay gap is 'a moral imperative' as House passes Paycheck Fairness Act". CNBC . Retrieved 2021-04-30 .
- Weisman, Jonathan (2021-06-08). "Republican Filibuster Blocks Pay Equity Bill in the Senate". The New York Times. ISSN0362-4331 . Retrieved 2021-06-23 .
- ^ Editorial. "Shortchanging America’s Women", The New York Times, September 19, 2010. Accessed September 22, 2010.
- ^"Equal Pay for Equal Work: Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act", American Civil Liberties Union. Accessed September 22, 2010.
- ^"Position on Pay Equity", American Association of University Women. Accessed February 28, 2010.
- ^ Associated Press."Obama keeps focus on fight for women's equality",Associated Press. March 12, 2011. Accessed March 28, 2011.
- ^ Dodge, Garen E. McFetridge, Jane M. "Paycheck Fairness Act Reintroduced in Congress" Martindale.com April 27, 2011. Accessed May 31, 2011.
- "S. 2199 - All Actions". United States Congress . Retrieved 9 April 2014 .
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- "S. 2199 - Summary". United States Congress . Retrieved 9 April 2014 .
- ^ Under the comparable Title VII "business necessity" standard, an employer must demonstrate that a practice is job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. The final question in the business necessity analysis is whether the employer rejected an alternative employment practice that would satisfy its legitimate business interest without resulting in a disparate impact. This standard is familiar to employers and courts, as it has been judicially applied since the Supreme Court's decision in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971), and was expressly codified by the Civil Rights Act of 1991. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 (2006)
- ^ Engelmann v. Nat'l Broad. Co., Inc., No. 94 Civ. 5616, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1865, at *20 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 22, 1996).
- "Closing the "Factor Other Than Sex" Loophole in the Equal Pay Act". National Women's Law Center. April 12, 2011.
- CONSAD Research Corporation (2009). "An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women" (PDF) . U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration . Retrieved 27 December 2017 .
- ^Sommers, Christina Hoff. "Fair Pay Isn’t Always Equal Pay", The New York Times, September 21, 2010. Accessed September 22, 2010.
- ^ ab Fisher, Daniel. "Paycheck Fairness Act Will Be Anything But", Forbes, July 21, 2010. Accessed September 27, 2015.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Government.