75 Years of the FLSA: Celebrating and Looking Ahead

Nov 19, 2013

By Lauren French

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the first federal law to set standards for minimum wage, overtime, and child labor regulations. The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor celebrated this milestone by bringing together workers, researchers, and advocates to discuss the development of the FLSA and the future of workplace protections.

The event featured a number of well-respected policy experts speaking on a range of issues that affect workers and employers, including the need to raise the minimum wage, reform overtime rules, increase enforcement efforts and address the struggles faced by women in the workforce. In discussing the contentious history of the FLSA passage, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez reminded attendees that the battles labor advocates and government officials face today are not so different from those faced 75 years ago. Secretary Perez quoted President Franklin Roosevelt, who warned, on the night before the signing of the FLSA, "Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day, ...tell you...that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry."

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