Getting a job is the shining light at the end of the long struggle of dropping off resumes and going for interview after interview. Being financially independent and setting a purpose for oneself does wonders for self-esteem. However, before Minnesota residents begin working, they should be aware of some basic employment law terms and how they will affect them in their jobs.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, youth employment standards, overtime pay and recordkeeping. These standards affect people in the private and public sector. Minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour for covered nonexempt workers. A nonexempt employee is one who must be paid for every hour they work whereas an exempt employee is one who is exempt from overtime and minimum wage laws. Generally, states also have minimum wage laws and if an employee is subject to both, the employee should be receiving the higher of the two.

Overtime is also established by FLSA. If a nonexempt employee has worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, they become entitled to overtime pay. Overtime pay is not supposed to be less than one and a half times the rate of regular pay. There is no limit on the number of hours that an employee older than 16 years of age can work in a workweek. Hours worked are defined by the FLSA as any time the employee is required to be in the employer’s premises, on duty or at a prescribed workplace.

Federal and state laws creating employee rights exist to protect employees in all workplaces, earning any wage. But, without being acquainted with them, exercising those rights becomes impossible. Before beginning employment, it might be helpful to speak to an experienced professional about one’s rights are and how to ensure they are not being violated.