Two Years of the Wage-Hour Law

September 21, 1940

Report Outline
The Wage-Hour Law and National Defense
Coverage of the Wage-Hour Law
Administration and Enforcement of the Act
Special Focus

The Wage-Hour Law and National Defense

Reduction in Maximum Workweek Next October 25

On October 25, 1940, the maximum workweek in industries covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act will be reduced from 42 to 40 hours, in accordance with the terms of the statute. An estimated 3,000,000 employees out of the 12,300,000 covered by the law are now working more than 40 hours a week. The hours of these employees must either be reduced to 40 a week or the employees must be paid time and one-half for hours worked above 40 a week.

Roosevelt's Opposition to Relaxation of the Law

The reduction in hours, which will mark the beginning of the third year of operation of the wage-hour law, will doubtless be followed by a revival of pressure in Congress at its 1941 session for repeal or amendment of the act. Outright repeal was advocated by the United States Chamber of Commerce as early as May, 1939, and in recent months, some employers have insisted that the terms of the law have made it difficult to expand production for national defense.

Drastic amendments were defeated by the House early in the 1940 session, and the Roosevelt administration has made it clear that future attempts to modify the labor standards established by the act will be vigorously opposed. In a speech to the teamsters' union at Washington, September 11, the President said:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cost of Living and Wages
Apr. 17, 2020  Inequality in America
Sep. 08, 2017  Universal Basic Income
Apr. 08, 2016  Future of the Middle Class
Apr. 18, 2014  Wealth and Inequality
Jan. 24, 2014  Minimum Wage
Jun. 19, 2009  Rethinking Retirement
Mar. 06, 2009  Middle-Class Squeeze
Mar. 14, 2008  Gender Pay Gap
Dec. 16, 2005  Minimum Wage
Sep. 27, 2002  Living-Wage Movement
Apr. 17, 1998  Income Inequality
Oct. 27, 1978  Wage-Price Controls
Jun. 16, 1978  Military Pay and Benefits
Mar. 23, 1966  Rising Cost of Living
Oct. 25, 1961  Price-Wage Restraints in National Emergencies
Jun. 21, 1961  Wage Policy in Recovery
Jun. 11, 1958  Prices and Wages in the Recession
Sep. 18, 1957  Control of Living Costs
Nov. 02, 1955  Wages, Prices, Profits
Jan. 26, 1954  Minimum Wage Raise
Jan. 02, 1954  Cost of Living
Jan. 21, 1953  Guaranteed Annual Wage
Dec. 17, 1952  Future of Price and Wage Controls
Nov. 19, 1951  Fringe Benefits and Wage Stabilization
Dec. 06, 1950  Wage Control
Jun. 13, 1949  Wages in Deflation
Jun. 04, 1947  Guarantees of Wages and Employment
Oct. 29, 1946  Decontrol of Wages
Dec. 01, 1945  Minimum Wages
Sep. 29, 1945  Wage Policy
Oct. 27, 1944  Wage Security
May 17, 1943  Incentive Wage Payments
Aug. 25, 1941  Prices, Profits, and Wage Control
Apr. 28, 1941  Wartime Changes in the Cost of Living
Sep. 21, 1940  Two Years of the Wage-Hour Law
Nov. 01, 1938  Industry and Labor Under the Wage-Hour Act
Jan. 20, 1938  Wage Rates and Workers' Incomes
Apr. 11, 1935  The Cost of Living in the United States
Sep. 01, 1930  Wages and the Cost of Living
May 24, 1930  The Anthracite Wage Agreement
Feb. 20, 1925  Measure of Recovery in Profits and Wages Since 1920–21 Depression
Labor Standards and Practices