Labor and Employment Laws

Labor and Employment Laws

Labor and employment laws are in place to attempt to protect employees as well as business owners. The amount of areas covered by these laws is vast. One of the areas that most of us become aware of these days when we enter the working world is minimum wage. Therefore, it only makes sense to cover some of this. However, there are many other areas labor and employment laws cover including, but not limited to: 

·       The Family and Medical Leave Act

·       Whistleblower (False Claims Act)

·       Back Wages

·       Alien Employment

·       Child Labor

·       Comp Time

·       Firing

·       Overtime pay

·       Meal and Rest Breaks

·       Sexual Harassment

·       Severance Pay

·       Unemployment Insurance

Minimum Wage Standards

Minimum wage is dictated by the “Minimum Wage Law”, or technically called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Not only does the FLSA determine minimum wage, but they also dictate overtime pay, youth employment rules, and record keeping. As of July 24th, 2008, the minimum federal wage is $6.55 per hour. In July of 2009, that amount will rise to $7.25 per hour. Overtime is required when work hours exceed 40 hours a week, and it can’t be less than 1 ½ of regular pay.

The FLSA is applicable to all employees of a business that does at least $500,000 during a business year. However, smaller companies that do interstate commerce or produce goods for commerce are also required to adhere to the act. In addition, federal, state, and local government agencies, hospitals, and schools are also expected to adhere to it.

Meals and Rest Breaks

Unfortunately, federal labor and employment laws don’t require an employer to offer a lunch break, although many people mistakenly believe it does. However, there may be state laws that require efficient meal time.  Check with your state laws. For instance, if you live in California, you are generally supposed to be allowed 30 minutes of meal time if you’re working more than five consecutive hours. It’s “generally”, because there are situations where this isn’t really required. An example would be if your work day is going to be completed with a six hour work period.

The same is true of rest breaks, in that federal employment and labor laws don’t require them. Your state laws may afford you required rest breaks, though.

If you think your company may be violating any federal or state employment and labor laws, you should visit the Department of Labor website