The Fair Labor Standards Act:

Extending the Act to State and Local Government Employees

HRD-88-86: Published: Jun 29, 1988. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division's (WHD) implementation of a Supreme Court decision which, along with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Amendments of 1985, extended FLSA to additional state and local government employees.

GAO found that WHD initially implemented the decision and amendments by: (1) establishing a technical assistance program for state and local government employees and employers; (2) issuing implementation regulations; (3) establishing investigative policies and providing staff training for review of complaints of FLSA noncompliance; and (4) obtaining additional compliance officer positions to carry out enforcement activities. GAO also found that: (1) WHD investigated, reconciled, or closed 1,612 of the 2,105 state and local government employee complaints it received during fiscal years 1985 through 1987; (2) the investigations caused state and local government employers with alleged FLSA violations to pay $4.2 million in back wages; (3) WHD issued several hundred opinion letters regarding FLSA applicability to specific situations; (4) employer and employee organizations generally had positive views on WHD implementation of the decision and amendments and on state and local governments' compliance with FLSA; and (5) two unions and one employer organization expressed dissatisfaction with the timeliness and adequacy of WHD responses to requests for opinion letters.

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