Labor laws have for a long time been used to provide guidelines on how workplaces ought to be governed. The laws have been enacted for several major reasons which they have managed to achieve so far. These include employee protection, environmental protection and the legal protection.
By employee protection, the labor laws seek to promote the welfare of employees through dictating the maximum working hours that an employee is required to work. They also set minimum wages that any employees must be paid and also promote the rights of employees in the workplace
Environmental protection seeks to promote environmental friendly operations in the workplace while legal protection seek to ensure that the businesses carried out by organizations do not contravene the legal provisions of the constitution. The employment law therefore mediates the relationship that exists between the employees and the employers. This is achieved through the trade unions and other employees’ welfare agencies as well as employers’ welfare agencies (Blockwell, 2003).
There are four main areas of employment which are governed by the employment laws. These areas cover wages and hours of work, Safety and health standards, Family and medical leave, and whistleblower protection. The U.S department of labor is the federal agency that regulates this area. It enforces the compliance to minimum wages by employers as well as dictating the terms and conditions of overtime compensation.
The Minimum wages by the United States of America government has been set at $7.25. It is required by law that all employers comply with this rule failure to which legal actions are taken on the organization. The law also stipulates the minimum wage payable during over-time and this is set to at least 150% of the normal pay during the normal working hours.
This means that an employee who extends works past the normal working hours is entitled to earn an extra fifty percent of the normal pay calculated per hour. More on the wages and hours of work can be found on the United States Department of Labor publications which can be retrieved from their website.
The Agency also regulates the safety and health standards that ought to be adhered to by both the employers and the employees. These are the requirements that are set out by law to ensure that the working conditions and the work environment are conducive for human habiting. Such conditions provide for such things as wearing of protective clothing whenever the nature of the work present a potential danger to the employees such as intoxication or physical threat of suffering injury.
The United States federal law requires employers to grant employees qualified unpaid leave on several accounts. These accounts include family and medical reasons. The agency that oversees this law is the United States department of labor.
This law allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if an individual can legally prove that he/ she has a new child whether born or adopted, he has a serious family member who is seriously ill and needs care, or such any other matter that may be consistent with this provision. A more detailed report on the provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act is available in the website of the United States department of labor.
The employment law that relates to whistleblower protection is administered by the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of the special Counsel. This is a federal agency that seeks to adjudicate and investigate whistle blowers complaints. These agencies also seek to provide protection to the whistleblowers who are often regarded as social misfits in the modern day work environment.
Whistleblowers come in where they notice such errs as gross mismanagement of funds, non compliance with the regulations, abuse of authority etc (Fletcher, Sorrell, & Silva, 1998). Enforcement is achieved through investigation of the claims by the enforcement agencies and if sufficient evidence is obtained, litigation processes commence against the party that has contravened the legal provisions of the employment law.
The following table indicates the four major areas discussed above
Employment statusWebsiteAgencyAllowed to work/NotHours/ dayPay/hour
Over 18 yearshttp://www.dol.govthe US Dept of Laboryes6$7.25
Family Leavehttp://www.dol.govthe US Dept of LaborUnpaid
Whistleblower protectionhttp://www.fas.org/sgp/crsthe Merit Systems Protection Board
Safety and Health standardshttp://www.dol.govthe US Dept of Labor