Labor Laws by Company Size

Below is a list of federal labor laws that typically apply to employers, based on number of employees. The list is not exhaustive and does not include state or local requirements, but it will help get you started.

All Employers:

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. Sets federal minimum wage, overtime, record keeping and child labor laws.
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Requires that employers use Form I-9 to verify each new hire’s eligibility to work in the United States.
  • Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963. Employers must provide equal compensation to men and women who perform identical or substantially equal work for the same establishment.
  • Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA). Protects employees from being discharged because of a single wage garnishment against them and limits the amount that can be garnished from their paychecks in any given workweek.
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974. Private-sector employers with group health and welfare plans must adhere to ERISA’s minimum standards.
  • Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Authorizes employers to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from employees’ wages, as well as pay their own share of these taxes.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970. Requires that employers provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees.
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of 1969. Regulates how employers can obtain and use consumer reports, including background checks.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. Employers that offer employee benefit plans must adhere to HIPAA’s privacy, antidiscrimination and security rules.
  • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935. Allows employees to create a union and participate in concerted activities in order to improve their working conditions.

Employers With 15+ Employees:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals when making employment decisions.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Forbids employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex and religion.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Bars employment discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related health conditions.
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Employers cannot discriminate against job applicants and employees based on their genetic information.

Employers With 20+ Employees:

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967. Protects job applicants and employees age 40 or older from discrimination based on their age.
  • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985. Gives eligible employees who lose their group health coverage the right to continue their coverage for a limited time.

Employers With 50+ Employees:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Eligible employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave.
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA). Employers must offer affordable, minimum essential health coverage to full-time employees or risk paying a penalty.

Employers With 100+ Employees:

  • Annual EEO-1 Reporting. Employers must send employment information for certain categories — including race, gender and wages — annually to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  • Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) of 1988. In the event of plant closings and mass layoffs, employers must notify employees 60 days in advance.

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