Deep Dive: Labor Laws
Hello, WISE friends. Welcome to the second installment of WISE WBC’s Deep Dive, where we go into the nitty gritty of a topic of interest to small business owners. The theme of this month is labor laws - the regulations governing the rights and responsibilities of workers.
Dive deep into labor laws impacting small businesses
Labor laws. Just the term can feel overwhelming, which is why many small business owners don’t dive into this topic well after they should. And, fair enough - there IS a lot to learn. We recommend starting with the SBA’s guide to hiring and managing employees. The guide lays out, at a high-level, how you go about hiring employees and setting up payroll, the difference between employees and independent contractors, and which benefits are required and which are optional.
From there, read through the Summary of Major Laws of the Department of Labor. This page covers the big areas including wages and hours, safety and health, and worker’s compensation. It also goes into laws specific to unions, veterans, and seasonal workers, and touches on the Family Medical Leave Act. The guide is full of links out to other resources so you can follow the breadcrumbs to the pieces that apply to your own business. They also provide a link to free printable posters that many businesses are required to display.
Next, if you have more than 15 employees, check out the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s page to learn about federal anti-discrimination laws that apply to you. And no matter how many employees you have, it's important to understand how to classify those you hire. Are they employees or independent contractors? This article should help you determine which of the two categories works best for your business: Independent Contractor vs. Employee
Finally, pursue the New York State Department of Labor’s page on workforce protections as you must stay compliant with both federal and state level labor laws.
Read, watch, listen
Once you’ve covered the basics, check out these other, more niche resources:
- An article from Business News Daily on the 7 Labor Laws you Might be Breaking. It leads off with the Family Medical Leave Act, which is especially important as we’re still dealing with COVID.
- A video overview of the Family Medical Leave Act from Career Contessa. Short and straightforward.
Check out these following social accounts and other resources to stay up-to-date on all things labor laws:
- @usdol, the US Department of Labor’s Twitter account
- Littler Labor & Employment podcast. More interesting than it may sound, this podcast is geared towards small business owners and touches upon timely topics like talking about the vaccine in the workplace, providing benefits to LGBTQIA+ employees, changes to the US immigration policy that affect hiring, and more.
Know of a great resource we missed? Let us know!