Government Laws and Regulations
If you have read George Orwell's book 1984, you'll remember that the main theme is about Big Brother watching you and about rules and regulations. Well our societies "Big Brother" is government at all levels from federal to state to local. While it's difficult to keep up with all the ins and outs, a basic familiarity with these rules, laws, and regulations is needed by most small business owners.
What areas do some of these payroll related laws cover ?
- In prior lessons, we covered Social Security and Medicare that employees and employers are required to provide and/or participate in order to receive future medical and retirement benefits. In addition, we covered Self-Employment taxes that apply to certain types of business organization owners. These programs are governed by federal law.
- Employment Discrimination laws purpose is prevent discrimination between individuals based on race , religion, sex, age, disabilities, or national origin. Federal and state law compose the main body of employment discrimination law. Most of us are familiar with The Equal Pay Act that basically prohibits paying different wages to individuals performing the same basic job.
- Another law administered by federal (Fair Labor Standards Act) and state laws that we are also familiar with is the Minimum Wage Law that prohibits employers from paying employees less than this minimum rate per hour worked. The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal statute that provides for a minimum wage and the payment of overtime. Many states also have labor laws pertaining to the payment of wages. State statutes may even provide greater employee protection than the federal law. Employers must be aware of not only federal labor laws but also any state laws. If state and federal laws differ, the law that provides the greater benefit to the employee is usually the law that pertains.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires all employers with at least fifty workers to allow qualified employees time off for attending to personal matters such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health problem.
- Unemployment insurance provide terminated workers with temporary benefits to help soften the loss of the earnings from their job and provide them time to find another similar job.
- Federal and State Workers' Compensation laws are provided to provide benefits and awards to employees and/or dependents for employees who are injured, killed, or disabled on the job.
- The main statute protecting the health and safety of workers is the Occupational and Safety Health Act (OSHA). Federal and State workplace safety and health laws are designed to have employers provide a safe work environment for their employees in order to eliminate injuries and illnesses from occurring in the workplace.
- Pensions are governed primarily by federal law. In order to encourage employers to provide pension plans that follow congressional guideline and law such as the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) tax breaks are provided to employers who follow the guidelines.
- Although we don't hear much about unions anymore, they still represent an area that many employers still must deal with. The main body of law governing collective bargaining is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This law grants employees the right to collectively bargain and join trade unions.
I know laws, rules, and regulations are a pain in the butt. Even so, we need to know about them and apply them to our business where applicable. This lesson provided you with a brief overview of some of the main employment laws and regulations that might pertain to your business.
What's Next ?
Government Regulations Video