Record-Keeping Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is one of the most comprehensive legislative acts affecting U.S. employment law.  It principally focuses on minimum wage payment (as set by Congress), overtime pay (for specifically designated workers who work beyond 40 hours in a work week), substantial limitations on child employment, and, a significant requirement on businesses as to recordkeeping.

What Records Are Required

Every covered employer must keep certain records for each non-exempt worker.  The Act requires no particular form for the records, but does require that the records include certain identifying information about the employee and data about the hours worked and the wages earned.  The law requires this information to be accurate.  The following is a listing of the basic records that an employer must maintain:

  • Employee’s full name and social security number;
  • Address, including zip code;
  • Birth date, if younger than 19;
  • Sex and occupation;
  • Time and day of week when employee’s workweek begins;
  • Hours worked each day;
  • Total hours worked each workweek;
  • Basis on which employee’s wages are paid (g., $9 per hour, “$440 a week,” “piecework”);
  • Regular hourly pay rate;
  • Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings;
  • All additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages;
  • Total wages paid each pay period; and
  • Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.

How Long Should Records Be Retained

Each employer shall preserve for at least three years payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, sales and purchase records.  Records on which wage computations are based should be retained for two years, i.e., time cards and piece work tickets, wage rate tables, work and time schedules, and records of additions to or deductions from wages.  These records must be open for inspection by DOL’s Wage and Hour Division’s representatives, who may ask the employer to make extensions, computations, or transcriptions.  The records may be kept at the place of employment or in a central records office.

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