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Federal employment laws to follow for your company size

Written by: Elizabeth Walker
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Published on September 9, 2022.

As a small or medium size business owner, it’s an exciting and rewarding experience to see your company grow and prosper, especially as you start hiring more employees to meet the increased demand.

But as your company grows, so does your list of federal employment laws that you’ll need to follow to keep your company compliant. Generally speaking, the more employees you have, the more rules and regulations you’ll need to be aware of to stay compliant.While keeping track of all the regulations that apply to your organization may seem daunting, we’re here to help keep things straight. In this article, we’ll go over the federal employment laws you’ll need to be aware of as you reach specific company size thresholds.

Are you an applicable large employer? Get more information about your company size in our guide

Why is company size important?

The federal employment laws that apply to your business depend on the number of employees in your workforce. Several federal rules apply to all public and private employers, but certain laws are only required for businesses of a certain size.

For example, small business owners aren’t fined by government agencies for failing to adhere to specific laws for larger businesses—such as the employer mandate for healthcare—but if your company grows to a certain size, you’ll be responsible for following those laws.

That’s why knowing which regulations apply to your company is so important in keeping your company compliant and free of costly penalties.

In addition to federal polices, individual states also may have their own regulations to follow based on employee count. Check your state’s labor standards to learn more about your requirements.

Federal employment laws by company size

All company sizes

  • Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA)
    • Protects employees from discharge by their employer due to their wages being garnished for any one debt. The CCPA also limits the number of an employee's earnings that may be garnished in any one week. (source)
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
    • Prevents employers from using lie detector tests in the employee interview process or during employment. You also must display an EPPA poster at your workplace. (source)
  • Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
    • Sets minimum standards for employee benefit plans, including retirement plans and welfare benefit plans, such as a 401(k) or group health plan. It also outlines that employers must inform plan participants about the plan features, funding, and responsibilities. (source)
  • Equal Pay Act (EPA)
    • Requires that employers provide equal compensation for both men and women who perform equal work in the same workplace. This regulation covers all forms of pay, and you must display an EPA at your workplace. (source)
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT)
    • Protects employees against identity theft. (source)
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
    • Establishes federal minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping, and child labor laws for employers. (source)
    • It also requires you to pay an overtime rate equal to 1.5 times an hourly employee’s regular wage rate if they work more than 40 hours in a given workweek.
  • Federal Income Tax Withholding
    • Requires employers to withhold a set percentage of employee wages for the federal government. (source)
  • Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA)
    • Requires that employers withhold a set percentage of employee wages for Social Security and Medicare. (source)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
    • Ensures that employees’ protected health information is kept private and that employers can’t receive information about an employee’s health condition from healthcare providers. (source)
  • Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA)
    • Mandates that only those who can legally work in the United States can be hired, and employers maintain up-to-date I-9 forms for all employees. (source)
  • Jury Systems Improvement Act (JSIA)
    • Prohibits employers from dismissing or punishing individuals from fulfilling jury duty obligations in a federal court. (source)
      • Note: Each state has its own requirements on whether they must provide paid time off for jury duty or not.
  • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
    • Protects employees from being disciplined by their employer for forming or joining a union, or taking collective action, such as strikes. (source)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
    • Requires employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees by following federally-set standards for safe employment conditions, hazard communication, and personal protective equipment. (source)
    • Employers with at least 11 employees must maintain records in compliance with OSHA.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
    • Requires public companies to follow set mandates in financial recordkeeping to combat fraud and improve financial disclosures. (source)
  • Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
    • Protects employees from discrimination based on membership in the uniformed services concerning any aspect of employment. (source)
    • Employees taking leave for military service must give 60-days' notice. As an employer, you must allow them to their previous job when their service is finished.
  • Uniform Guidelines for Employment Selection Procedures
    • Requires employers to make equitable employment decisions per Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. (source)

15+ employee company

  • American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    • Protects applicants and employees with disabilities from discrimination in employment practices, including recruitment, compensation, hiring and firing, job assignments, training, leave, and benefits. (source)
    • Additionally, you must make “reasonable accommodations” for individuals with disabilities.
        • Reasonable accommodation is any modification to a job or workplace that enables individuals with a disability to participate in the application process or perform necessary job functions.
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
    • Protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on their genetic information, including family medical history, genetic tests, requests for genetic services, and genetic information about their fetuses and embryos. (source)
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
    • Protects pregnant employees from discrimination due to pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related conditions. (source)
  • Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • Protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This includes firing someone for a discriminatory reason. (source)

20+ employee company

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
    • Protects applicants and employees who are 40+ years old from discrimination based on their age. (source)
  • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
    • Provides certain employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporarily continue their employer-sponsored health benefits when health coverage would otherwise be lost due to certain events (i.e. termination of employment, reduced work hours, divorce, etc.). (source)

50+ employee company: Applicable large employers (ALEs)

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions
    • Employers of this size are classified as applicable large employers (ALEs) under the ACA and are subject to the employer mandate. (source)
        • This means they must offer full-time employees affordable health benefits that meet minimum value, regardless of their health condition, age, or other discriminatory factors, or potentially pay a penalty.
  • Affirmative Action Program (AAP)
    • Requires employers to create programs to ensure the right of all persons to advance within the organization based on merit and ability without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or other factors. (source)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    • Requires employers to provide eligible employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons, including having a baby, adopting a child, or severe family illness. (source)
    • An eligible employee only qualifies for the FMLA if they’ve worked at least 1,250 hours during the past 12-month period.

100+ employee company

  • EEO-1 Survey Filing (Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964)
    • Requires employers to submit an EEO-1 report categorized by gender identity, job category, race/ethnicity, wages, and hours to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (source)
      • If the organization is a federal contractor, this requirement is in force at 50+ employees.
  • Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act (WARN)
    • Requires employers to give employees at least a 60-day notice of workplace closings and mass layoffs that affect 50+ workers at a single employment site. (source)

Conclusion

Federal labor laws can be tricky to understand for any business owner, regardless of your company size. While this list of federal employment laws is an excellent place to start, we recommend consulting with a legal expert in your area that’s familiar with your industry for an exhaustive list of employment laws for your organization.

If you have questions about offering compliant employee benefits, PeopleKeep can help. Contact our personalized benefits advisors and learn how we can help you offer a compliant, cost-controlled health benefit that can be tailored to fit the specific needs of your team.

This article was originally published on December 1, 2021. It was last updated on September 9, 2022.

Originally published on September 9, 2022. Last updated September 9, 2022.
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