There are more than 180 federal labor laws administrated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that cover workplace activities for about 150 million workers in 10 million workplaces. Maintaining compliance commonly falls to your company’s human resources department. Tracking, updating and enforcing these HR laws ensures your company’s compliance. Beyond understanding these employment laws, there are some HR basics that aid in the process.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

Administered by the Wage and Hour Division, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets standards for wages and overtime pay. Employers who have nonexempt employees are required to pay at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay at one-and-one-half-times the regular rate of pay.

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Many states also have minimum wage laws. Some state laws provide greater employee protections; employers must comply with both. Additionally, the FLSA dictates that employees must receive overtime pay of at least one and a half time their regular wages for hours worked beyond 40 in a given workweek.

This labor law also restricts the hours that children under age 16 can work in all nonagricultural operations and forbids the employment of children under age 18 in certain jobs deemed too dangerous. For agricultural operations, it prohibits the employment of children under age 16 during school hours and in certain jobs deemed too dangerous.

Tracking hours all hours worked can keep employers compliant with the FLSA. A time clock app is a digital solution that automates time tracking so no hour or minute is missed. Tools, like Arcoro’s Time & Attendance software, can even require employees to sign off on their electronic time cards, creating an employee-substantiated record of time worked, making sure all overtime is counted and paid.

Workplace Safety and Health

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Workplace safety and health conditions for both private industries and public sector employees are regulated by OSHA or OSHA-approved state programs. Employers covered by the OSH Act must provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards. OSHA enforces its Act through workplace inspections and investigations.

To remain OSH Act compliant, employers need to stay current with OSHA training and certifications. A learning management system, like Arcoro’s LMS, simplifies safety and training programs by offering simple, on-the-go storage of earned safety certifications, easy-to-track learning milestones, and a massive library of possible courses, including eight OSHA training courses.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation programs are administrated by state, and HR departments need to adhere to state’-specific laws on compensating employees who are hurt on the job.

The DOL’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Program does not administer or oversee state workers’ compensation programs. It does, however, administer four major disability compensation programs that provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to certain workers or their dependents who experience work-related injury or occupational disease. These programs include the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation program, the Federal Employees’ Compensation Program, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program and the Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation Program.

Employers can manage the cost of their workers’ compensation premium by tracking different cost codes, or job activities, to get a better idea of how efficient their workforce was and have a record that can lower monthly premiums. Arcoro’s Time & Attendance software has the ability to keep track of each job activity allows you to pay the rate for each task performed. If the industry that you are in normally yields a high premium due to one or more tasks that aren’t an everyday function, keeping track of your employees’ duties, task by task, will allow you to pay the lowest possible premium.

Employee Benefit Security

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulates employers who offer pension or welfare benefit plans for their employees. The Act’s health care plans include the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Comprehensive Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) and the health care portability requirements on group plans under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) imposes a wide range of fiduciary, disclosure and reporting requirements on fiduciaries of pension and welfare benefit plans and on others having dealings with these plans. 

Benefits software can help HR departments understand and manage employee benefits. Regulations continually change and benefits management software automatically updates, so you never have to worry about if you have the latest version of paperwork. The right software provides the forms you need and guarantees that if any compliance issues arise, you’ll have digital records of your compliance at your fingertips. . Benefits administration software like Arcoro’s can calculate the age-banded benefits for each employee eligible to enroll in the ACA. It can also easily customize benefits for each employee and quickly deduct employee selections from payroll.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

Administered by the Wage and Hour Division, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers of 50 or more employees to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious illness of the employee or a spouse, child or parent. Benefits administration allows HR to stay updated on all of the compliance rules and regulations set by the federal government, including ACA, HIPPA, COBRA and FMLA.

Specialized Compliance Regulations

There are some regulations specific to certain employees or industries.

Unions and their Members

The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) of 1959 protects union funds and promotes union democracy by requiring union officials, employers, and labor consultants to file reports regarding certain labor relations practices, and by establishing standards for the election of union officers. The act is administered by the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS). 

Core HR software gathers key employee and human resources data in one accessible, cloud-based space, with privileged access for both management and employees. It keeps central HR recordkeeping and essential compliance documents in order so accessing union employee records requires just a couple of clicks.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service protects workers’ jobs who serve in the armed forces. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act states that these employees have a right to reemployment with the employer they were with when they entered service, including those from the reserves or National Guard. Core HR can help HR departments track their workers by employee classification, including those currently serving in the armed forces.

Veterans’ Preference

Veterans and other eligible persons have special employment rights with the federal government. They are provided preference in initial hiring and protection in reductions in force. Claims of violation of these rights are investigated by the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. A good Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can not only track the number of veterans who apply for positions but target your recruitment efforts to job boards specifically for veterans.

Government Contracts, Grants, or Financial Aid

Recipients of government contracts, grants or financial aid are subject to wage, hour, benefits, and safety and health standards under:

  • The Davis-Bacon Act, which requires payment of prevailing wages and benefits to employees of contractors engaged in federal government construction projects. The act requires that any federal contractor who takes on a job over $2,000 on public buildings or public works, must pay their workers no less than the prevailing wage and fringe benefits as on similar projects. Types of work include construction, alteration or repair (including painting and decorating).
  • The McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act, which is similar to the DBA as it requires contractors and subcontractors to pay workers the wage rates and fringe benefits that prevail locally. The McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act differs from the DBA as it relates to prime contracts over $2,500 and the employer must adhere to collective bargaining agreements.
  • The Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act, which establishes minimum wage, maximum hours, and safety and health standards for federal contracts in excess of $15,000 for manufacturing or providing materials, supplies, articles or equipment to the U.S. government or the District of Columbia. The Wage and Hour Division administers all the provisions of the PCA except the safety and health requirement, which are administered by OSHA.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) administers and enforces the federal laws that require most federal contractors and subcontractors, as well as federally assisted construction contractors, to provide equal employment opportunity.

To remain compliant with the OFCCP, federal contractors must maintain accurate records, from hiring to managing employees. An ATS like Arcoro’s keeps all employee applications and resumes in the event you’re audited for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) compliance.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits discrimination by employers on the bases of:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Equal Pay/Compensation
  • Genetic Information
  • Harassment
  • National Origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Race/Color
  • Religion
  • Retaliation
  • Sex
  • Sexual Harassment

The ATS also automatically adds the standardized “Equal Employment Opportunity” tagline in all Arcoro job listings and can be configured or removed if necessary.


OSHA has special occupational safety and health standards for construction. The Wage and Hour Division, under Davis-Bacon and related acts, requires payment of prevailing wages and benefits. These employees must be paid with certified payroll. Arcoro’s solution supports certified payroll compliance with:

  • A drop-down menu so you can simply choose “certified payroll” for a job site, automatically classifying all hours worked at the site
  • A certified payroll report that lets you review the hours worked at those sites by employee
  • The option to create customized “certified payroll” cost codes for every certified payroll site so employees can clock in under the correct code for their “contract action” or job

The OFCCP’s Executive Order 11246 also requires federal construction contractors and subcontractors, as well as federally assisted construction contractors, to provide equal employment opportunities. Employers who fall under the OFCCP can track and prove EEO hiring compliance with an ATS. A good ATS will store all recruiting-related activities in a mobile platform so your records are meticulously maintained in the event of an audit.

The anti-kickback section of the Copeland Act precludes a federal contractor from inducing any employee to sacrifice any part of the compensation required. The Copeland Act also requires contractors to pay workers weekly in cash or negotiable instruments and submit weekly payroll reports. Using an automated payroll system ensures construction employees are always paid for the time they work.

Plant Closings and Layoffs

Plant closings and layoffs may be subject to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). WARN offers employees early warning of impending layoffs or plant closings. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) provides information to the public on WARN, though neither ETA nor the Department of Labor has administrative responsibility for the statute, which is enforced through private action in the federal courts.


Some of the statutes and regulations enforced by the DOL require that notices be provided to employees and/or posted in the workplace. DOL provides free electronic and printed copies of these required posters. The elaws Poster Advisor can be used to determine which poster(s) employers are required to display at their place(s) of business. Posters, available in English and other languages, may be downloaded and printed directly from the Advisor.

Maintaining compliance is an ongoing endeavor but using the right HR software can make the processes headache-free. Arcoro’s modular HR systems work together to automate workflows that help companies maintain compliance from hiring to onboarding and post-hiring. Schedule a demo to see how they can help your company.

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