Reference Number: 
CTAS-135

Prisoners who are required to work by or for the government are not considered employees under the FLSA and need not be paid minimum wages or overtime. Use of inmate labor does not violate the FLSA if the prisoner works for or is required to work by the government having custody of the prisoner. However, if the inmates are contracted out to a private contractor, this can create an employment relationship requiring the payment of wages in accordance with the FLSA if the private contractor exercises sufficient control over the prisoner to give rise to an employer-employee relationship. Even where minimum wage is required, deductions for restitution or other matters set by law or court order may reduce the wages below minimum wage so long as the employer does not gain from the deduction.