The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) was enacted in 1938 in an effort to regulate the work environment. The FLSA requires employers to pay employees for all hours worked. Additionally, if an employee works in excess of forty hours in a workweek, the FLSA requires the employer to pay the employee a rate of at least one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. However, the FLSA does not apply to all employees; some employees are exempt. Many states, including Pennsylvania, have laws which parallel the FLSA.
In order to calculate the correct amount of hours an employee worked, it is important to determine what activities constitute “work” and when the workday starts. This is of particular importance for employees who: work from home, travel, are required to wear protective equipment or clothing, or need to take preliminary steps so that they can perform their job. Employers who violate the FLSA can be liable for damages for unpaid overtime, liquidated damages, reasonable attorneys fees and costs, and criminal penalties.