The Department of Labor
This month, as we are looking at getting “Back to _____”; we thought it was important to get back to the basics of the governing agencies that oversee labor in our country. The main agency that is responsible for this is the Department of Labor.
“The Department of Labor (DOL) fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the Department administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support.” http://webapps.dol.gov/dolfaq/go-dol-faq.asp?faqid=478&faqsub=General+Information&faqtop=About+DOL&topicid=9
The Department of Labor (DOL), through its many agencies, is responsible for administering and enforcing more than 180 federal laws, which cover many workplace activities for 10 million+ employers and 125 million employees. Here is a look at just a few of the many laws and standards which the DOL covers:
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): sets the standards for wages and overtime pay, which affect most private and public employment, and is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA): regulates the safety and health conditions in most private industries as well as public sector employees, and is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA): regulates employers who offer pension or welfare benefit plans for their employees. Many sections of ERISA are administered by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). EBSA also administers reporting requirements for continuation of health-care provisions under COBRA, and health care portability requirements on group health plans under HIPAA.
- The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA): deals with the relationship between a union and its members, and is administered by the Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS).
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act: bars most employers from using lie detectors on employees, except in limited circumstances; it is administered by the Wage and Hour Division.
- The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CPCA): regulates the garnishment of employee wages by employers, and is administered by the Wage and Hour Division.
- The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): requires employers of 50 or more employees to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave to eligible employees for the birth or adoption of a child, or the serious illness of the employee, spouse, child or parent, and is administered by the Wage and Hour Division.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): enforces statutes that ensure non-discrimination in employment.
- The Taft Harley Act: regulates a wide range of employer-employee conduct and is administered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
As noted, these are just a few of the 180+ federal laws that fall under the Department of Labor. Please visit The Department of Labor’s website, www.dol.gov, to find out more. The website also provides a timeline on the history of the Department of Labor, and a section on Labor Day (which is right around the corner). In addition to having a great website full of important information, the DOL has recently introduced 3 mobile app’s for employees/employers:
- DOL-Timesheet: An app for employees to independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are awed.
- Heat Index for Outdoor Workers: Find out your local heat index and what precautions you should take to stay safe.
- DOL Labor Statistics: Get the latest numbers form BLS and ETA.
As always, HR Strategies is here to help our clients with regulatory compliance in respect to any of the Department of Labor’s regulations, statutes, acts, and laws.