An HR Manager’s Guide to Navigate Employment & Labor Law

Governing work hours, benefits, compensation, time off, and other areas of employment laws at federal, state, and local levels demand in-depth knowledge of changes that affect these laws.

When small differences emerging out of laws that change from year to year are neglected, that is when massive HR policy blunders take form. This, in turn, leads to expensive lawsuits filed on behalf of workers who feel their issues haven’t been addressed.

But how do you navigate employment and labor law when they remain in constant flux? The answer lies in frequently reviewing employment law compliance procedures, utilizing compliance software, and frequently updating an employee handbook, policies, and training programs.

Let’s take an in-depth look at what exactly Employment Law includes, why it’s critical to stay updated with it, and how best you can navigate through its complexities to ensure your organization remains compliant.

What are Employment Laws?

Workplace misconduct is known to plague organizations across the world. From sexual misconduct to unfair worker compensation – employees continue to struggle with these issues. Employment law seeks to protect the rights and safety of workers. An extensive set of laws covers the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers. Each country and state have its own set of employment laws that must be adhered to.

Non-compliance with these laws can result in expensive and damaging action against the organizations in question. Employment laws are in constant flux, and it’s critical for HR professionals to stay updated with them to stay compliant. Some of the most common laws surrounding employment are:

Health & Retirement

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) law covers compensation and benefits – including the non-wage compensations like retirement plans and health insurance.

Unpaid Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the law that offers job protection to employees when they take unpaid leave under certain circumstances like a serious family illness or the birth of a child.

Worker Health & Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) ensures the workplace safety of employees.

Wages & Payment

All the areas associated with hourly wages, unpaid wags, and overtime pay are regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Discrimination & Harassment

Laws related to worker discrimination are typically enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) including cases ranging from sexual harassment to harassment springing out from race, national origin, religion, age, color, and age.

Why are Labor Laws are Vital in HR?

Your HR department is at the helm when it comes to helping your company’s ship of compliance sail smoothly. In other words, it is your HR team’s duty to possess a strong working knowledge of laws related to employment. After all, they are tasked with communicating the importance of these laws to both employees and employers.

Labor laws outline what the employees and employers are responsible for. In many cases, they also serve as valuable compasses to offer the right direction for resolving any conflict arising in the workplace. A deeper dive into the purpose these laws serve:

Ensuring the Safety & Fair Treatment of Workers

It is the role of HR managers to train other management personnel in terms of how these laws must be upheld. The most common laws that impact a majority of HR actions include discrimination, equal employment, medical leaves of absence, and labor laws. Only the right knowledge of these laws can enable companies to operate within the boundaries of these laws.

Keeping the Workplace Structure Together

A majority of employers might be familiar with some of the more common federal labor laws. However, there are several other lesser-known laws that are critical to consider for a company to operate legally. This is where the knowledge of these laws becomes important to maintain a quality workplace culture.

Employment Laws Can Shape Your Company’s HR Management

Only with a thorough understanding of these laws can a company build a lasting HR management system – which, in other words, means a safe and ethical workforce.

Best Practices to Navigate These Laws

Frequently Review Employment Law Compliance Procedures

It’s critical to update your current compliance procedures and policies per the employment law changes. A great way to do so would be to expand your employment law knowledge, dig deep into any gaps that may have been left behind in your compliance procedures, and craft well-researched strategies to fix the areas that need correction and update the ones that have been missing.

Virgil’s SaaS-powered technology helps you stay up to date with the federal, state, and local employment laws to help you strengthen your employment law compliance without spending hours researching regulatory requirements.

Utilize a Compliance Software

While handling employment law compliance has never been a walk in the park, the rise of the pandemic has added substantially to the already complex nature of these procedures.

With a remote or hybrid work setting, HR professionals struggle with a massive revamp in the way they work. While technology has by far been the most valuable companion of HR departments across the world, HR managers still continue to deal with compliance challenges surrounding employment law. By blending right into your HR technology, VirgilHR’s solution delivers a real-time, prescriptive roadmap across local, state, and federal laws. This brings several advantages to the table including:

  • Reduction of risk and liability by offering the most recent employment and labor law guidance directly to your company’s HR tech.
  • Freeing up a massive chunk of time for HR, which can then be invested in more important strategic decisions across the company.

Frequently Update Your Employee Handbook, Policies, & Training Programs

Your employee handbook, policies, and training programs are the pillars that help you remain compliant with the employment laws. To make sure these pillars offer ample support, it’s critical to strengthen them constantly.

Updating your employee handbook and policies is only half the job done. To ensure maximum compliance with employment laws, it’s also critical to incorporate these changes into your training programs.

Make sure you update your employee handbook every year and, if possible, have an external counsel review it for you. This will help detect the legal changes you may have skipped during your research.

Be proactive in hunting and incorporating any changes in employment laws, constantly update your employee handbook, policies, and training programs, and finally, bring in the power of technology to yield real outcomes.

Reach out to VirgilHR now to navigate employment and labor law and build a lasting HR compliance with employment laws.