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Decoding the Fair Labor Standards Act for Michigan residents

Employees in Michigan who are covered by Fair Labor Standards Act are entitled to minimum wages and overtime payments as prescribed in the act. The FLSA has been enacted to prescribe minimum wages, overtime pay, record-keeping procedures and child labor standards applicable to both full-time and part-time workers in private, as well as government sectors. Wage and Hour Division of Department of Labor along with U.S. Office of Personnel Management enforces FLSA for various categories of workers.

Employee rights under FLSA entitle every worker to a prescribed minimum hourly wage. Along with that, each worker is entitled to overtime at the rate of one and a half times their regular wages for work done over and above 40 hours a week. Deductions for purposes, such as cash or merchandise shortages, employer provided uniforms or tools of trade are illegal if they reduce the wages or overtime paid to below the stipulated minimum. Tips earned by the employee during work hours and reasonable cost for boarding and lodging facilities provided by employer can be considered as part of wages.

The FLSA does not stipulate severance and sick pay, premium to be paid for weekend or holiday work, pay raises and fringe benefits, meals and rest periods or mandatory holidays and vacations. FLSA also does not prescribe any mandatory notice period for workers and does not require prompt payment of final wages post termination. The FLSA does not cap the maximum working hours for a worker in a week, as those matters are governed by the employment agreement between the employer and the employee.

The FLSA covers all employees of enterprises who are engaged in interstate commerce in any form, including the production of goods for interstate commerce or those closely involved in any activity directly essential to such production. Even domestic service workers, earning more than a stipulated amount from any one employer or working more than eight hours a day for one or more employers are covered under FLSA.

Certain category of workers, such as vocational educations students and workers with physical or mental disability or workers with lower productivity due to age or injury may be hired at a wage lower than the minimum prescribed under FLSA. The FLSA also lists out categories of workers who are exempted from the provisions of FLSA.

Source: DOL.gov, "Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act," accessed on Dec 11, 2014.

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