Labor Laws

There are more than 180 federal labor laws on the books, and countless others from individual states. While few laymen could claim a comprehensive knowledge of all the laws and regulations that govern what organizations can and cannot do with their employees, working knowledge of a few major laws is beneficial for everyone involved in the working world, employer and employee alike.

Labor laws are designed to guarantee certain legal protections in the workplace, and one of their less-realized benefits is that instill faith in the United States economy. Entrepreneurs can start businesses with confidence that they have the ability to discipline employees and terminate those who don’t serve the interests of the organization. Employees are willing to work for others because they can be certain that they will be paid what they earn and be protected from unsafe conditions and abuse. Without this faith in the system from both parties the labor market would be unpredictable and the economy would suffer.

Over the years, the U.S. Congress has passed a number of laws that accomplish a wide variety of objectives in the workplace. Here are some of the most important laws that involve labor today.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 is concerned with wages and working hours. It determines the federal minimum wage and is thus periodically updated to reflect increases in the cost of living as well as societal expectations of a basic living standard. The act also sets requirements for overtime pay at 1.5 times an individual’s working wage, and limits the number of hours that can be worked by minors in a given week.

The Occupational Safety and Health act was passed in 1970 and created a vast array of standards that govern safety and working conditions. This law is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a government agency that investigates and takes punitive measures in response to companies that fail to comply. These standards protect the employees from harmful working conditions that could leave them permanently disabled or dead.

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 guarantees the right of employees to organize and take collective action, and prohibits employer reprisal and discrimination for doing so. In the past, relations between employer and employee have been weighted heavily in the favor of the employer, owing to the fact that the employer generally had the most natural power. NLRA seeks to reduce the advantage by limiting what the employer is allowed to do in response to employee challenge. This allows employees to use their numbers to negotiate better conditions without fear that individuals will be singled out and made an example of.

This is just a short list; there are many other laws that govern labor, Compliance Document Service such as those that aim to end employment discrimination, give hiring preference to military veterans, and ensure that employee pension money gets to where it’s supposed to go. While there are legitimate arguments against some of the labor laws on the books, there is no question that a legal framework for governing the labor environment is greatly beneficial to the economy.

Compliance Document Services is dedicated to helping businesses comply with labor laws.