The Department of Labor fosters and promotes the welfare of job seekers, wage earners and retirees by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities, protecting their retirement and health benefits and generally protecting worker rights and monitoring national economic measures.
The Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recovered more than $196 million in back wages in fiscal year 2004. Back wage collections have increased steadily since fiscal year 2001, with record breaking amounts collected in fiscal year 2003. The number of workers receiving back wages has increased by over 33 percent since fiscal year 2001. The average number of cases concluded by WHD investigators in each fiscal year has shown a steady increase from just over 40 cases concluded per investigator in 2001 to 46 in 2004, as WHD increased its enforcement productivity. WHD investigators have also significantly decreased the number of days it takes to conclude a complaint case. The agency concluded some 37,842 compliance actions in fiscal year 2004. WHD assessed nearly $9 million in civil money penalties this past fiscal year, a slight decrease from the nearly $10 million assessed in 2003.
Uses and Use Restrictions
Federal wage and hour standards apply generally to employees engaged in interstate or foreign commerce or in the production of goods for such commerce or in enterprises so engaged and, in addition, to employees of Federal, State and local governments, hospitals, businesses providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools and preschools.
Generally, for covered employment the minimum hourly wage is $5.15 per hour (effective September 1, 1997) with time and one-half the regular rate of pay required for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
There are special rules applicable to employees of State and local governments, including provisions concerning volunteer work, compensatory time-off, and outside employment.
To the extent necessary to prevent curtailment of employment opportunity, certificates authorizing special minimum wage rates are issued for learners, workers with disabilities, full-time students, student workers, and apprentices.
In nonagricultural employment, the basic minimum age is 16 years for general employment, 14 for work outside school hours in certain occupations under specified conditions, and 18 in occupations found hazardous by the Secretary.
In agricultural employment, the basic minimum age is 16 years during school hours and in occupations found hazardous by the Secretary; otherwise, age 14 for work outside school hours except for 12- and 13-year-olds with written parental consent or on farms where their parents are employed, or under age 12 with written parental consent on a farm not subject to Federal minimum wage or under a limited waiver for local 10- and 11-year-old hand-harvesters of short-season crops under specified conditions.
Failure to comply with the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act or regulations issued there under may result in an assessment of a civil money penalty not to exceed $11,000 for each minor involved in violations.
Employees of contractors performing on most federally financed or assisted construction projects, or providing services under contract to Federal agencies, are subject to special standards.
These special standards require that employees receive no less than the wages and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality as determined by the Secretary of Labor, and that overtime compensation, with few exceptions, be paid for hours worked on such contracts in excess of 40 in a week.
The standards apply to performance on direct Federal contracts and also to most construction projects financed in whole or in part by the Federal Government (e.g., projects under the National Housing Act).
Under current law, for Federal and federally assisted construction contracts over $2,000 and Federal service contracts over $2,500 subject to prevailing wage requirements, contracting agencies must obtain a wage determination issued by the Wage and Hour Division.
Also under current law, employees working on Federal contracts in excess of $10,000 calling for the manufacture or furnishing of supplies are required to be paid not less than the Federal minimum wage and overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 a week.
Labor standards are set under the Arts and Humanities Act which require the payment of the prevailing minimum compensation as determined by the Secretary of Labor to professional performers or supporting personnel who work on projects or productions assisted by grants from the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.
The Employee Polygraph Protection Act prohibits most private employers from administering lie detector tests to employees or prospective employees but permits the use of polygraph tests under certain conditions.
The H-2A provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act provide for the enforcement of contractual obligations concerning wages and other working conditions between certain temporary, alien agricultural workers and their employers.
Section 203 of the Immigration Act of 1990placeslimitations on the performance of Longshore work by alien crew members in U. S. ports; Section 212(n)places limitations on the employment of nonimmigrant workers in H-1B Specialty Occupations.
The Family and Medical Leave Act requires a private employer of 50 or more employees and all public employers and schools to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to any employee who was employed at least 12 months for 1,250 hours of service during the preceding 12 months, and is employed at a work site where there are 50 employees within 75 miles.
Any covered employee, unless specifically exempt, is entitled to be paid in accordance with applicable monetary standards in the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
(Geographic application varies under the respective statutes and eligibility is dependent upon specific statutory language.) For family and medical leave, coverage includes any employer with 50 or more employees but excludes any employer at a worksite with fewer than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Aplication and Award Process
This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.
Persons having knowledge of wage and employment practices which are not in compliance with the minimum standards of these acts, and persons requesting additional information concerning these standards, should contact the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division, listed in the telephone Directory under United States Government, Labor Department. If no listing is shown for your locality, contact the nearest district office of the Wage and Hour Division listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog under the Employment Standards Administration. Information should be provided describing the type of business and the nature of the work performed. Unless otherwise authorized, the names of persons making inquiries are kept confidential to the maximum extent possible under existing law. For Federal construction contracts or Federal service contracts subject to revailing wage requirements, the contracting agency must obtain a wage determination issued by the Wage and Hour Division. The wage determination must be furnished to bidders and made a part of the contract along with certain contract stipulations.
For most of the Acts, a 2-year statute of limitations applies to the recovery of back wages; in the case of willful violations, a three-year limitation applies. Any action against an employer for violation of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act must be filed within three years of the alleged violation.
Fair Labor Standards Act, Public Law 75-718, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 201-219; Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act, Public Law 74-846, as amended, 41 U.S.C. 35-45; McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act of 1965, Public Law 89-286, as amended, 41 U.S.C. 351 et seq.; Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. 276a et seq.; Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, 40 U.S.C. 327 et seq.; Copeland Act, 18 U.S.C. 874, as amended; 40 U.S.C. 276C; National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. 954(3), as amended; Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, Public Law 100-347, 29 U.S.C. 2001; Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended; Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Public Law 99-603, 8 U.S.C. 1324, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), 1160, 1161, 1182(n) 1184(c) and 1186, 1824, 29 U.S.C. 1802, 1813(a); Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, Public Law 103-3, 107 Stat. 6.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
An appeal process is available where child labor civil money penalties are assessed, where civil money penalties are assessed for minimum wage and overtime violations, and under the Government contracts statutes.
Formula and Matching Requirements
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Post Assistance Requirements
Federal and federally assisted construction contractors must submit information with respect to wages paid to contracting agencies.
(Salaries and Expenses) FY 07 $177,286; FY 08 $185,092 and FY 09 est $202,832.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature
Publications furnished free in limited quantities: "Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act," "A Guide to the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act," "Guide to the Service Contract Act," "A Guide to the Child Labor Provisions of the FLSA" (Nonagricultural and Agricultural Occupations) "Compliance Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act." Additional technical and nontechnical materials are also available at no cost.
Regional or Local Office
Persons having knowledge of wage and employment practices which are not in compliance with the minimum standards of these acts, and persons requesting information or publications should contact the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division, listed in the telephone directory under United States Government, Labor Department. If no listing is shown for your locality, contact the nearest district office of the Wage and Hour Division listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog under the Employment Standards Administration.
Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 693-0051.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
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