HR Management and Labor Laws
There are numerous laws and regulations pertaining to human resources (HR) management and labor in the workplace.
The U.S. Department of Labor oversees these laws and ensures that workplaces follow them. Although HR and labor laws cover a variety of subjects, there are a few common statutes affecting workplaces on a daily basis.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the criterion for employee pay, including minimum wage and overtime. The act ensures hourly workers are paid at least the minimum wage set by the federal government, as well as time-and-a-half for overtime work.
The FLSA also sets standards for child labor, such as the number of hours children may work in various industries.
Workplace safety applies to many employers on a daily basis. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH) requires employers adhere to safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). There are numerous OSHA standards, but the key of the OSH Act is that employers must maintain a safe workplace, specifically protecting workers from known dangers.
Pensions and Retirement Plans
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs pensions and other retirement plans. Under this act, employers are given the responsibility of not only managing retirement plans but also disclosing information about the plans to their employees.
Some employers are even required to insure their retirement plans to avoid monetary loss to employees. ERISA also governs COBRA, which is the extension of health insurance to employees who have left the organization.
Garnishment of wages, such as an order to take part of an employees earnings to pay a debt, is governed by the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) and enforced by the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.
One of the key provisions of the CCPA in relation to garnishment is that an employer cannot fire someone because their wages have been garnished. In addition, the CCPA sets limitations on how much money can be taken out of an employee’s check each pay period.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), sets standards under which employees can take time off to care for a family member.
FMLA covers companies with 50 or more workers and ensures covered employees receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for a direct family member who is ill or to care for a newborn or newly adopted child.
There are various employment laws relating to veterans. One of the most important concepts in veterans’ employment is that veterans are given certain preferences and rights in regard to federal employment.
The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, oversees the enforcement of veterans’ rights standards and handles complaints related to veteran employment.
Layoffs and Workplace Closures
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires certain employers give adequate advanced notice if the workplace is closing or if layoffs are planned.
Federal agencies such as the Department of Labor do not enforce this law. Instead, violations of WARN are handled by commencing a lawsuit in court.