The FLSA's maximum hours standard is in need of an overhaul. The validity of its original objectives is suspect, its effects are largely unknown and compliance is difficult. The swamp of exemptions which currently exists is mired in inconsistencies and antiquated assumptions. The failure of the salary basis test has expedited the need for FLSA reform. The mythical forty hour workweek should not be supported by a maze of regulatory requirements having vague objectives. However, some employees should have some protection from being overworked.
Admittedly, the solution proposed is not a miraculous "cure-all." Regulations concerning its implementation must still be drafted to cover a number of issues, such as situations where employees do not earn one set wage, and exemptions may still be required for certain industries. However, the most drastic problems which currently exist will be addressed. The decisions that must be made concerning terms and conditions of employment will be made by the parties most affected -- employers and employees -- not the courts. We believe this solution will permit employees and employers to negotiate wage agreements which account for varied employment schedules desired by both employees and employers, possibly increase employment levels by increasing profits for employers per employee, help prevent low wage earners from working unreasonable workweeks and provide a simpler FLSA to administer and enforce.
The 2004 regulations provide a partial quick fix. Congress needs to put politics aside and agree on a real FLSA overhaul that makes sense.