The FLSA and the Portal-to-Portal Act: Promoting the Rights of Employees and the Growth of Firms
Overtime pay, that is, payment which employees receive for the extra hours that they have worked in excess of the required eight-hour workday or 40-hour work during a week is hard-earned money for many rank-and-file employees whose regular pay is oftentimes not enough to sustain them in their daily needs. Not everyone is entitled to render overtime, though; those who are eligible to it, also known as “nonexempt” employees, take advantage of it as often and as much as they can.
A few of those who are not eligible to render overtime, also known as “exempt” employees, are: professional employees paid on a salary basis; those occupying administrative or executive positions; salespeople whose work is outside the office; volunteer workers; independent contractors; those employed in recreational or seasonal amusement businesses, and conference centers or organized camps which operate for less than seven months in a year; some switchboard operators; seamen; newspaper deliverers; and, criminal investigators.
Non-exempt employees in business firms that are covered by Texas overtime laws or by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 or FLSA, also known as the Wages and Hours Bill, are automatically non-exempt employees – thus, they are eligible to overtime work and pay. The FLSA, which the US Congress passed into law in 1938, directs businesses and sets the regulations regarding child labor, recordkeeping, overtime pay and minimum wage; it was enacted to benefit every employee, full-time or part-time, whether in a private or public firm. In connection to the FLSA, the Portal-to-Portal Act was executed in 1947; it stated that any work performed on behalf of the employer is work that ought to be compensated.
Besides ensuring that employees are never taken advantage of by their employers, the FLSA stipulated the eight-hour workday and the 40-hour work week to allow employees in the US to work productively, while giving them enough time with their families, as well as enough time for proper rest; increase the work hours and you start denying your rank-and-file employees family time and the relaxation that keeps them sane and renewed every time they go back to the worktable. This also prevents employee injuries, which are more common in the work place when the employee is tired.
While protecting the rights of the employees, the FLSA is also actually benefiting businesses too. It was never meant to undermine the interest and profitability of firms. Thus, any employer attempt to violate the rights of non-exempt employees to overtime work and pay should be dealt with legally to give to employees what they rightfully deserve and to end such unjust practice in the workplace.