The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

In 1938, partly in response to the Great Depression, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This law protected workers from long hours and unfair pay by establishing a 40-hour work week and a minimum wage. It also protected children from exploitation by establishing that they would have to be at least 16 to work in most nonagricultural industries. Younger children could still work certain jobs provided the hours and wages were fair. (It was still possible, in other words, for children to get a newspaper route.) FLSA was challenged in the courts soon after its passage but its constitutionality was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1941.

Inside The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)