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elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses

- Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor

Engagement in the Production of Goods for Interstate Commerce

Employees are covered on an individual basis when they are engaged in the production of goods for interstate or foreign commerce on the job. The word production means producing, manufacturing, mining, handling, transporting or in any other way working on goods. The word "goods" means all products, commodities, merchandise, wares, articles or any ingredient thereof. Interstate commerce means that the goods are produced for trade, sales, transportation, transmission or communication across state lines.

Examples of covered employees who are engaged in the production of goods for interstate commerce include:

  • An employee of a small garment company who sews buttons onto shirts which are eventually sold to a retailer in another state.
  • An employee who works in his or her own home making the wings to a decorative art object which, when complete, is sold to an out of state wholesaler.
  • A production employee who works for a small firm which makes electrical on/off switches and sells them to a local lighting factory which ships its lamps to customers in many states.
  • A migrant farm worker who picks cucumbers that are then graded and sold to a processor who makes them into pickles and markets the product in other states.

Employees who do not directly engage in producing goods for interstate or foreign commerce will still be covered on an individual basis if they provide services which are closely related and directly essential to the production of goods for interstate commerce. Examples of covered employees in this category include:

  • A bookkeeper who does the payroll for the small garment manufacturing company whose shirts are sold to a retailer in another state.
  • A guard service employee who guards the lamp factory which ships its products across state lines.
  • A maintenance employee who repairs a pressing machine at a nearby garment factory which sells its products in other states.

The above are only examples and the listing is not intended to include all possible employees who are engaged in the production of goods for interstate commerce. Now that you have a good idea of what is required to be engaged in the production of goods for interstate commerce, please answer the following question.

Are you engaged in the production of goods for interstate commerce or in a closely related and directly essential job?