29 U.S.C. § 206  

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Discrimination Minimum wage Procurement

This section establishes the federal minimum wage, and prevents discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.  It also specifically requires that employers providing contract services to the US must pay the specified minimum wage. In addition, this section specifies that domestic workers must also be paid the minimum wage.

Notes

These provisions comprise the basic hour/wage statute in the US federal labor regulation regime.

Enforcement of these provisions may be brought through either a private action by the wronged party, or by an investigation by the Department of Labor (Hour and Wage Division). Government investigation may be spurred by complaints from workers. If the Department of Labor pursues an investigation, it may employ litigation or may directly instruct the employer to provide back wages and cooperate with FLSA provisions in the future.

Penalties can include the payment of back wages; amounts equal to back wages as liquidated damages; if a private suit, attorney’s fees and court costs; and, in the case of wilful or repeat violations, civil damages of $1,000 per violation for adult wage/hour minimum and $10,000 per violation for child wage/hour minimum. The government may also bring a criminal suit, which could impose additional penalties of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for repeat violations. See http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/screen74.asp

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Section 206. Minimum wage

(a) Employees engaged in commerce; home workers in Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands; employees in American Samoa; seamen on American vessels; agricultural employees

Every employer shall pay to each of his employees who in any workweek is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, or is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, wages at the following rates:

(1) except as otherwise provided in this section, not less than—

(A) $5.85 an hour beginning on the 60th day after May 25, 2007; (B) $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and (C) $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day:

[…]

(3) if such employee is employed as a seaman on an American vessel, not less than the rate which will provide to the employee, for the period covered by the wage payment, wages equal to compensation at the hourly rate prescribed by paragraph (1) of this subsection for all hours during such period when he was actually on duty (including periods aboard ship when the employee was on watch or was, at the direction of a superior officer, performing work or standing by, but not including off-duty periods which are provided pursuant to the employment agreement); or

(4) if such employee is employed in agriculture, not less than the minimum wage rate in effect under paragraph (1) after December 31, 1977.

(b) Additional applicability to employees pursuant to subsequent amendatory provisions

Every employer shall pay to each of his employees (other than an employee to whom subsection (a)(5) of this section applies) who in any workweek is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, or is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, and who in such workweek is brought within the purview of this section by the amendments made to this chapter by the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1966, title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 [20 U.S.C.A. § 1681 et seq.], or the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1974, wages at the following rate: Effective after December 31, 1977, not less than the minimum wage rate in effect under subsection (a)(1) of this section.

[..]

(d) Prohibition of sex discrimination

(1) No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to

(i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system;

(iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or

(iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex: Provided, That an employer who is paying a wage rate differential in violation of this subsection shall not, in order to comply with the provisions of this subsection, reduce the wage rate of any employee.

(2) No labor organization, or its agents, representing employees of an employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall cause or attempt to cause such an employer to discriminate against an employee in violation of paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) For purposes of administration and enforcement, any amounts owing to any employee which have been withheld in violation of this subsection shall be deemed to be unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation under this chapter.

[…]

(e) Employees of employers providing contract services to United States

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 213 of this title (except subsections (a)(1) and (f) thereof), every employer providing any contract services (other than linen supply services) under a contract with the United States or any subcontract thereunder shall pay to each of his employees whose rate of pay is not governed by the Service Contract Act of 1965 (41 U.S.C. 351-357) or to whom subsection (a)(1) of this section is not applicable, wages at rates not less than the rates provided for in subsection (b) of this section.

[…]

(f) Employees in domestic service. Any employee—

(1) who in any workweek is employed in domestic service in a household shall be paid wages at a rate not less than the wage rate in effect under subsection (b) of this section unless such employee’s compensation for such service would not because of section 209(a)(6) of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C.A. § 409(a)(6)] constitute wages for the purposes of title II of such Act [42 U.S.C.A. § 401 et seq.], or

(2) who in any workweek—(A) is employed in domestic service in one or more households, and

(B) is so employed for more than 8 hours in the aggregate,

shall be paid wages for such employment in such workweek at a rate not less than the wage rate in effect under subsection (b) of this section.

(g) Newly hired employees who are less than 20 years old

(1) In lieu of the rate prescribed by subsection (a)(1) of this section, any employer may pay any employee of such employer, during the first 90 consecutive calendar days after such employee is initially employed by such employer, a wage which is not less than $4.25 an hour.

(2) No employer may take any action to displace employees (including partial displacements such as reduction in hours, wages, or employment benefits) for purposes of hiring individuals at the wage authorized in paragraph (1).

(3) Any employer who violates this subsection shall be considered to have violated section 215(a)(3) of this title.

(4) This subsection shall only apply to an employee who has not attained the age of 20 years.

Law / United States / Fair Labor Standards Act 1938

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) serves as the core wage and working hours protection legislation in the US federal scheme. It limits hours worked to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week, and requires overtime at a 1.5x rate be paid past these amounts. With regards to overtime pay, while the FLSA’s protections extend to most workers, the FLSA does provide a number of exemptions. The standard salary level required for exemption from overtime pay is USD 913 a week, USD 47,476 annually for a full-year worker. It also incorporates the primary legislation limiting and regulating child labour (which varies by age and profession).

In cases of labor exploitation, FLSA will often act in concert with other laws that target trafficking and human rights abuses specifically.

The FLSA specifically does not apply to some agricultural workers (particularly seasonal workers), some social care workers, and certain professions. The FLSA may apply to migrants who do not fall into the exempt categories.