Minimum wage issues are primarily state issues and are often intertwined with overtime issues. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may apply in states depending upon the status of state laws and regulations. There has recently been activity in the US Senate concerning the potential of raising the minimum wage.
In March 2005, the Senate defeated a series of amendments that would have raised the minimum wage significantly. However, key Senators said in advance they hoped to use the issue to increase chances for passage of state minimum wage initiatives in 2006, as well as to highlight differences with Senators who will be on the ballot next year. Thus, we anticipate this debate will continue. Visit the ACA public policy Web page at www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy for updates.
In the mean time, we have developed the following questions to help camps understand the issues. First and foremost, it is important for you to contact your state labor agency — they can help you. Following are key questions to ask:
- Does your state have its own minimum wage laws or does it accept the federal law (FLSA)?
- Is there a state exemption from minimum wage and/or overtime for seasonal or recreational workers? What is the exemption and who is it for?
- Does your state have exemptions for the following individuals working in camp?
- Program Counselors or Program Specialists
- Professionals (e.g., Nurses)
- What is the base rate you must pay? (e.g., forty hours at minimum wage, etc.)
- Do room and board allocations count toward the minimum wage requirement? What is the maximum amount allowed for room and board?
- How does the state count on-duty hours—specifically in regards to sleeping and mealtimes?
- What is the definition of functional staff in your state and are there differences in wage and hour provisions related to those positions?
- What kind of recording documentation system or time card is required by the state to verify hours worked and hours paid?
- What type of information pertaining to minimum wage is required to be posted and accessible to employees in your state?
Originally published in the 2005 Spring issue of The CampLine.