Fair Labor Standards and the Minimum Wage

Section 203 of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) applies certain rights and protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to covered employees. These rights and protections require payment of the minimum wage and overtime compensation to nonexempt employees, place restrictions on child labor, and prohibit sex discrimination in wages paid to men and women. The House, Senate, and instrumentalities of Congress all have slightly different regulations regarding the implementation of the FLSA.

Except for employees with a specific exemption or exclusion, all covered employees are entitled to the minimum wage and to overtime compensation when working over forty hours in a workweek. Covered employees in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity who meet defined criteria are exempt from the basic wage and hour standards.

FLSA regulations provide certain exceptions to the general overtime requirements. Regulations provide law enforcement and fire protection employees with a partial exemption to the overtime requirements. The FLSA also permits compensatory time off, instead of overtime pay, for an employee whose work schedule directly depends on the schedule of the House of Representatives or the Senate. FLSA regulations also permit three additional methods of payment and compensation that may be used for employees who work irregular or fluctuating hours.

Interns, as defined by FLSA regulations, are not covered by the FLSA. The definition of intern does not include volunteers, fellows, or pages. For the Senate only, the definition of intern also includes senior citizen interns.

The FLSA sets basic minimum wage and overtime pay standards, but there are many employment practices it does not regulate.

For more information, please refer to the Congressional Accountability Act and the CAA Handbook.