There are a number of different federal employment laws that have their own rules for covered employers. Employers should be aware of the federal employment laws that may apply to their company.
An employer’s size, or number of employees, is a key factor in determining which federal employment laws the employer must comply with. Some federal laws, such as the Equal Pay Act (EPA), apply to all employers, regardless of size. However, other laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), only apply to employers that reach a certain employee count. Also, some federal laws, such as COBRA, include exclusions for certain types of employers (for example, churches).
This Compliance Overview provides a high-level overview of key federal employment laws and explains which employers they apply to. Most states also have their own labor and employment laws. This summary does not address state labor laws, and it also does not address additional compliance requirements for companies that contract with the federal government or businesses in specific industries.
Links and Resources
-U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) “First Step Employment Law Advisor,” which helps companies determine which labor laws apply to their business
-DOL’s webpage that includes links to each state’s labor office
-The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) compliance resources for employers and small businesses
Employers of All Sizes
The following federal employment laws apply to all employers, regardless of size:
-Equal Pay Act (EPA)
-Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
-Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
-Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
Based on Employee Count
-The following federal employment laws only apply to employers with a certain number of employees:
-Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)Fair employment laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)