Workers were formerly at the mercy of their employers in terms of job-related safety and benefits, much alone hiring and advancement. However, a push for employee rights gained pace in the twentieth century, resulting in a spate of critical labor protection legislation on which millions of Americans rely today.
The US Department of Labor now enforces around 180 worker protection statutes, ranging from wage standards to parental leave benefits. Other safeguards are overseen by organizations such as the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Consult employee rights lawyers today to learn more.
The Minimum Wage
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) assures that American workers are paid a living wage. Since 2009, most private and public firms have been required to pay employees at least $7.25 per hour, while some legislatures have attempted to raise that figure. In addition, the FLSA protects nonexempt workers with the right to overtime pay at time and a half.
Minors are also given particular protection under the law. It restricts the number of hours minors under 16 can work in nonagricultural jobs. Furthermore, the FLSA forbids employers from recruiting minors under 18 for certain high-risk positions.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 greatly reduced workplace hazards in the United States. The Act included various industry-specific safety measures, such as recommendations for construction, marine, and agricultural occupations. A “General Duty Clause” in the statute also forbids any working behavior that poses a demonstrable risk to workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces the legislation, although state agencies may also be involved in executing specific requirements. Even though the safeguards apply to most employees, self-employed persons and those working on small family farms, among others, are excluded from the law.
When it was first passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act pledged to make health insurance a right for most medium- and large-sized businesses’ employees. Employers with 50 or more full-time employees must provide a minimum level of health insurance or face a significant penalty as per the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment clause. An individual must work at least 30 hours per week on average to qualify as a “full-time” employee.
Today, American workers have several legislative safeguards to provide a minimum wage and protect them from working hazards, among other things. To get legal advice catered to your specific situation, consult an experienced legal professional today.