The principle aim of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was to ensure minimum wage and maximum hour requirements for all nonunion workers. The initial intent was to protect children, particularly those exploited and working in bad factory conditions. The FLSA helps entry level workers in low wage jobs, such as manufacturing and agriculture, by establishing minimum wage and maximum hour provisions. As of 2002, the minimum wage is $5.15 per hour worked and workers who work more than 40 hours in a 168-hour seven day workweek cycle must be compensated at one and one-half times their regular hourly wage.
The FLSA was amended in 1974 to extend to all employees of States and local governments. However, an organization of municipalities and state governments sued, proclaiming that the new amendments exceeded congressional authority to extend the minimum wage and maximum hours provisions of the FSLA. In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court held in the 1976 decision of National League of Cities et al. v. Usery, Secretary of Labor (1976) that the 1974 amendments of the FLSA did exceed congressional power and were therefore unconstitutional. The case limited Federal power to regulate state and local employers concerning minimum wage and maximum hours provisions