U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) includes a number of agencies which oversee various aspects of federal employment laws. These include the Occupational Safety and Health and Safety Administration (OSHA); the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA); the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA); the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC); the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS); and the Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
Audit your policies and practices to prepare for a DOL audit with the Employment Practices Self-Audit Workbook
Laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor
Many federal employment laws are administered and enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Some of the employment-related laws the agency oversees include the following:
- Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This Act’s reporting requirements for continuation of health-care provisions is administered by the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Title I of ERISA is administered by the EBSA and regulates employers that offer pension and welfare benefit plans for their employees.
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This Act governs wages and overtime pay for most private and public employers. The FLSA is administered by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the DOL’s Employment Standards Administration (ESA).
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This Act is administered by the WHD and requires certain employers to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the birth or adoption of a child or for their own serious illness or the serious illness of a spouse, child, or parent. It also requires employers to provide 12 weeks of leave to employees who have a spouse, parent, or child who is on or has been called to active duty in the Armed Forces when they experience “any qualifying exigency,” and up to 26 weeks of leave to employees who are the spouse, parent, child, or next of kin of a servicemember who incurred a serious injury or illness on active duty in the Armed Forces.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This Act’s health care portability requirements for group plans also is administered by the EBSA.
- Immigration and Nationality Act. The labor standards portion of this Act is enforced by the WHD and includes some nonimmigrant visa programs, such as H-1B.
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) . This Act is administered by the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and covers many workplace safety and health issues.
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service administers this Act which protects the right to reemployment of reserve and National Guard members.
- Worker Adjustment and Retrainig Notification Act (WARN Act). The WARN Act, which requires certain employers to provide notice to employees of plant closing or mass layoffs, is enforced through private claims in federal courts, but the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration informs the public about the WARN Act.
States have their own departments of labor to enforce their state’s employment laws. Because some states have laws that are more expansive than federal laws, it is important for employers to be aware of local, state, and federal employment laws.