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Comparing the FLSA and State Wage and Hour Laws

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

While the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) specifies minimum wage, overtime hours and child labor laws, it leaves to each of the individual states the responsibility of creating and enforcing the laws associated with basic wage and hour compliance. In other words, states are left with the responsibility of legislating and creating laws dealing with how and when an employee is paid and the procedures and processes of what an employee can do when they are not properly paid. Idaho has done this by enacting Title 44 of the Idaho Code which contains statutes dealing with various ware and hour issues such as: minimum wage, hours worked and child labor laws.

Idaho has also enacted Idaho Code §§ 45-601 et seq., concerning an employee’s claim for wages and the processes and procedures an employee can use to seek to obtain their wages from the employer.

Conflicts between Federal and State Wage and Hour Laws

It is important to understand that an employer must comply with all applicable federal and state wage and hour laws. If the relevant state wage and hour law conflicts with the federal wage and hour laws, the employer must apply the law that provides the greatest benefits and protections to the employees. Thus, a state law can provide more protection to an employee such as raising the minimum wage to a higher level, but it cannot mandate a lesser protection than that which is provided by the FLSA. In this instance, if a state law set forth a minimum wage that was lower than the federal minimum wage, the state law would be unenforceable. The federal minimum wage law would apply.

Idaho’s Wage and Hours laws do not conflict with federal laws. Rather, Idaho incorporates the FLSA and nearly all of the other federal laws concerning minimum wages and overtime hours.  Additionally, Idaho’s laws work in harmony with the FLSA in allowing employees to make claims to obtain their wages if necessary. For this reason, employers in Idaho need not be concerned that they must learn many additional laws enacted by Idaho. For the most part, any Idaho employer who complies with federal employment law, will also be in compliance with applicable Idaho law.

If you are an employer or an employer in Idaho and you have questions about applicable employment laws, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Employment Law attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your Idaho Employment Law questions and will help you solve your Idaho Employment Law problems.

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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