The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets out regulations for the payment of compensation to employees who work for employers that are covered by the FLSA. The major aspects of the FLSA are the minimum wage and overtime pay laws. The FLSA is administered and enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.
FLSA Covered Employers
Any type of commercial operation that is involved in interstate commerce is a FLSA covered employer. The standard test for this is having at least two employees and earning over $500,000 of gross revenue per year. This minimum gross revenue is measured against the aggregate total for all locations or divisions of the employer company. While there is an exception for security employees who work for public entities, this exception does not apply to security personnel who work for private commercial companies. This is true even if the private security guards work at a public or governmental location.
Minimum and Overtime Pay
All private security personnel working for FLSA covered employers must be paid at least the minimum hourly wage and premium pay for overtime hours worked. The only exception is if the security person is a bona fide exempt employee, which is discussed below in section three. The employee's compensation, whether it be hourly or salaried, must be at least the prevailing minimum wage rate times the total hours worked. The employee is entitled to either the current federal minimum wage or the local state's minimum wage, whichever is higher. Employees must be paid at least one and a half times their regular hourly wage for all hours worked over 40 in any work week, in addition to their regular pay.
Exempt Employee Classification
An employee who meets the standards of being an exempt employee per the FLSA, is exempt from both minimum wage and overtime. This basically means they receive a set, regular salary regardless of the amount of hours worked. The employee must have certain duties and responsibilities to be legally classified as exempt. This would be either as an administrative or executive employee. Such an employee's predominant work duties would be of a managerial nature, including significant business decision making and supervisory authority. The job title alone does not make an employee exempt - only her actual duties and responsibilities. Also, those qualifying duties and responsibilities must be primary in doing their job. Another requirement is that an exempt employee must be paid at least $455 per week salary.
Any deductions made from the employee's pay for required uniforms or equipment, or the cleaning or maintenance of these items, cannot result in the employee's pay being less than minimum wage. Such deductions also cannot reduce the required overtime pay. All work hours performed in a single week, even at multiple posts, count toward the overtime requirement. Also, overtime pay is based on the hours worked in an actual given week and not based on the average over a pay period. Any travel time between work locations is to be counted as hours worked.
- US Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Divison: Fact Sheet 4
- US Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Divison: Fact Sheet 17C
- FLSA: Police and Fire Overtime Rules (the 7(k) Exemption): Exemption for Firefighters and Law Enforcement Personnel under FLSA §§ 7(k)
- Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley, LLC: Private Security Guards Entitled to Overtime Compensation under FLSA
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