Employment and employee benefits law in the USA

International HRM

Employment and employee benefits law in the USA Work is an essential part of our adult lives. More than 157 million Americans are part of the US workforce and work in essential fields. We have seen this during the last year when the global pandemic hit the world and forced people to spend more time in their houses. Only the essential businesses were open, such as stores, shops, veterinary clinics, or hospitals. The global pandemic made us appreciate the essential workers more. Ordering food or other products, going to the supermarket, or other essential activities are constantly supported by the people that work in these industries. Depending on the industry you work in, many employee benefits might be different from company to company. However, it is mandatory by law to give your employees some essential benefits. At the same time, they are also protected by law from discrimination. Which Are the Laws Employment Is Based On? It is useful to know that there are over 180 federal laws that are related to labor. The Department of Labor is entitled to enforcing these laws to protect employees in the US. however, the most used laws are the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many other laws are enforced by the Department of Labor and that urge companies and employers to not discriminate against their employees. Discrimination is still very actual in our society and, unfortunately, still affects many employees across the country. They could be discriminated against based on their race, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, origin, age, and others more. These laws aim to protect the employees and end employee discrimination.

However, besides these national federal laws, there are also local laws that protect the employees and that companies have to abide by.

Who Is Protected by These Laws?

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that large companies need to abide by federal and local laws. But what happens when there is the case of smaller companies to which some of these laws do not apply? Local laws seem to cover all the cases.

Federal laws do not apply to any company because they are required to have a specific number of employees. Hiring people to your company comes with many responsibilities. There is usually a contract that is signed and agreed upon by both parties and that helps the employee protect their position. Many types of employment contracts could be involved. There is an employment-at-will that allows both parties to end the collaboration without prior notice, without violating the laws.

The employment contract is the most used form of employment. There are noted all the details necessary, from requirements and expectations to tasks, skills, and procedures. The terms and conditions of the agreement need to be followed accordingly, otherwise, the federal law can intervene. Every employee is protected by the contract or agreement he signs, besides the federal laws that apply in any case.

However, depending on the nature of your job, you might or not be protected by some of these laws. For example, while some employees are entitled to overtime pay, others are not. The difference stays in whether you work in the private or public sector. Moreover, there are many collaboration types; you could be hired by contract or collaborate with a company as a contractor. Law Benefits for Employees Some terms and conditions, as well as employee benefits, are required by law, so employers are forced to offer them to all their employees. Among these benefits the law comes with are:

    • Social security - as the pandemic hit the entire world, the rate of unemployment skyrocketed. Employees have the benefit of social security that applies in cases such as sickness, old age, work injury, maternity, and in other cases. This means that employees are supported in each of these cases both by the employer and the federal government. The protection of the health of US citizens is important and mandatory. Having access to social security options is essential and one of the benefits.

  • Unemployment Insurance - another benefit that workers from the US have. This is not applicable in all cases, but only in those where employees were fired (but not from their own fault). There are specific criteria you need to meet to get unemployment insurance.

    • Workers’ compensation insurance - even though many employees are working in offices, some of them are blue-collars. It is not rarely the case when work accidents happen and employees end up injured. Workers’ compensation insurance offers injured workers wage benefits and medical insurance.

Conclusion

The US is a country where the cultural diversity is immense. Currently, there are over 157 million employees in the US who have been granted some benefits by federal and local laws. The Department of Labor is enforcing more than 180 federal laws that aim to protect the employees against discrimination and offer them the benefits they need. Discrimination is still very present in our society and people are usually discriminated against their race, age, sexual orientation, origin country, disabilities, marital status, and many more.

These laws also come with benefits for many employees. Social security, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance are just a few of them. Employees are protected by federal law in case they get sick, are fired, or get hurt during work. Medical insurance and wage benefits are very important to many workers in the US, especially during these tough times.

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