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Hours of Work
National Summary
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employers pay employees a minimum wage for all hours worked and an overtime wage for hours worked over 40 in a week. In general, hours worked for purposes of the FLSA includes all time that employees spend performing activities on their employers’ behalf. Hours worked also includes waiting time, travel time, other than time spent commuting to and from the employee’s regular place of work, breaks or meal periods that are less than 20 minutes long, and time the employee is required to spend in training, at seminars or in meetings. Hours worked for purposes of the FLSA do not include waiting time, time spent on call or time when an employee is required to carry a pager or cell phone, provided the employee is otherwise free to effectively use the time for his or her own personal purposes. The FLSA does not obligate employers to pay employees for holidays, vacation, or sick days.
The FLSA requires that employers keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid. The statute does not limit the number of hours employees may work in a week, except in the case of minors under the age of 16. In addition, individual states may have laws that regulate the payment of wages and overtime, the hours worked by minors, and what constitutes paid work time.
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