NEWS AND RESOURCES

General Business News for July 2004

I Gotta do What?
How many times a year do you get a brochure from your insurance company advertising insurance to protect you against employment law violations? If you havenít seen any yet, count yourself lucky. In this article, we aim to give you a bit of information to help you determine how well you have your employment law bases covered. While the bad news is that an employer has to face an increasing number of employment regulations each year, the good news is, not all employers are subject to all laws. Letís take a look.

1 or more employees

This being a nation dedicated to equality, many laws affecting employees start with the very first employee. Hereís the short list:
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) - This is the act that has been in the news so much lately and the Department of Labor recently issued new regulations regarding wages and overtime. For small employers, these rules, though somewhat simplified in the new regulations, are still extremely complex.

  • Child Labor Laws - Hereís something that just about everyone can agree on - our children are our future and we need to help them grow up to take over this country when the time comes. Child labor laws were enacted to protect children from exploitation and give the children the chance at life in something more than a sweatshop.

  • Equal Pay Act - You would be surprised at how many people still think that a man and a woman doing the same job should be paid differently. The equal pay act seeks to change this frame of mind.

  • Immigration Reform and Control Act - This is the act that requires employers to complete a Form I-9 from new employees and to verify that the employee is indeed a U.S. citizen, or otherwise legally entitled to work in the United States.

  • Occupational Health and Safety Act - This act, of course, relates to providing a safe working environment for employees.

  • New Hire Reporting - This law was enacted several years ago to assist custodial parents collect any court mandated child support. The report is to be submitted to your stateís local reporting center within 20 days of the hire date.

  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act - If you have employees in the reserves that may be called to active duty, you should bone up on this act. You should also count your blessings if they have not been called to active duty at this point.

  • Numerous other state and federal laws - There are a number of other federal and state laws, including unemployment insurance, withholding taxes and workerís compensation with which an employer with only one employee is required to comply. Did we tell you that in some instances, you might be that employee. The good news is you are the least likely person to sue yourself.
2 employees
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) - These days, speaking to an employer about "health insurance" might get you decked and the acronym HIPPA can elicit a similar response. Still, there are numerous rules regarding confidentiality, etc. that are addressed by HIPPA and if you have two or more employees, better brush up on this law.
15 or more employees
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - This is the part of our employment law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, color or religion.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act - Where Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 deals with the origin of an individual, the ADA prohibits discrimination due to disability. This law makes it imperative that you have current job descriptions on all employee classifications and titles.

  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act - This is probably one of those self-explanatory titles.
20 or more employees
  • Age Discrimination of Employment Act (ADEA) - Prohibits discriminating against someone due to age.

  • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1983 - If you have employer sponsored health and dental insurance, and 20 or more employees, you have a snake in your business. Failure to follow the appropriate written notifications can cost you a fortune if a separated employee suddenly becomes ill with no insurance.
50 or more employees
  • Family Medical Leave Act - This act provides for a period of time that you can take off without pay to attend to the needs of a loved one. This includes you. It also requires the employer to hold a position open for you to return to.
These then are the most significant items you are likely to encounter in your business. This is not meant to downplay certain provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), but most employers do not have more than 100 people. Does this sound confusing? What if we throw even more laws on top of these? The task of just learning about your legal obligations is onerous, much less having to then administer the laws in your business. Give us a call if you have any questions. Weíll be glad to help in any way possible.

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