US Labor Department releases updated Employment Law Guide
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of an updated version of its popular Employment Law Guide, an online publication that describes the major employment laws administered by the department. The Guide helps the public — workers and employers — understand many of the laws affecting the workplace. For instance, it helps small businesses develop wage, benefit, safety and health, and nondiscrimination policies. It also benefits employees and employee representatives who need information about worker rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws.
“Fair and safe practices in the workplace are a top priority for the Department of Labor, and we want to make it simple for both employers and workers to understand the federal policies that protect them,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Our new Employment Law Guide provides updated and user-friendly information and guidance. We encourage everyone to use it.”
Following a topical format and written in plain language, the Employment Law Guide is especially helpful for employers without a dedicated legal or human resources staff. The updated version addresses recent and important changes in employment laws, including the increase in the federal minimum wage and an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act that grants qualified relatives of veterans leave to care for ill or injured uniformed service members or to fulfill obligations that arise when a relative is called to active duty in the military. The Guide also now includes a chapter on child labor regulations in the agriculture industry and one on the Defense Base Act, which provides workers’ compensation benefits to civilian employees working outside the United States on U.S. military bases or under certain contracts with the U.S.
The Employment Law Guide is a companion to the department’s FirstStep overview advisor, an online system that allows employers to quickly and easily determine which federal employment laws apply to them by answering a few simple questions about relevant variables. Each chapter in the Employment Law Guide corresponds to the laws addressed in the FirstStep advisor, outlining coverage under the law; its basic requirements; employee rights; recordkeeping, reporting, notice and poster requirements; penalties and sanctions for non-compliance; relation to state, local and other federal laws; and contact information for further assistance.
Together, the updated Employment Law Guide and FirstStep overview advisor offer employers the information they need to ensure safe and fair workplace policies and practices. Both are available at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/ or http://www.dol.gov/compliance/.