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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
elaws: Employment Laws Assistance for Workers & Small Businesses

News Room - Articles and News Briefs

The U.S. Department of Labor has created a series of elaws drop-in articles and news briefs, which can be accessed through the links below. We encourage you to customize them to use in your organization’s newsletter or other publications and help spread the word about this valuable resource.

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READY-TO-PUBLISH ARTICLES

NEWS BRIEFS

Help from DOL News Brief Series:


READY-TO-PUBLISH ARTICLES:


H-1B Advisor

Online Tool Clarifies Rights and Responsibilities of H-1B Visa Program

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently unveiled a new online tool to help employers and others understand how to comply with requirements under the H-1B visa program, which allows for the temporary employment of foreign workers in the U.S. in certain specialty occupations.

The H-1B Advisor provides detailed information about employers’ and U.S. and foreign employees’ rights and responsibilities under the H-1B program, which was established under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  By answering relevant questions, users can learn about or determine if they meet the requirements of the program.  The Advisor also outlines notification requirements, monetary issues, worksite issues, recordkeeping, worker protections and enforcement, as well as provides information about additional requirements for employers deemed to be H-1B dependent or willful violators. 

The online Advisor focuses solely on compliance with the requirements enforced by DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD).  Responsibilities for the H-1B program are shared between DOL and other agencies, and the Advisor does not review the process for participating in the program or for invoking H-1B visa portability.

The H-1B Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws.  To access it, visit the elaws Web site at www.dol.gov/elaws.  To learn more about DOL’s role in administering the INA and H-1B Visa program, visit the OFLC Web site at www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov or WHD Web site at www.dol.gov/whd.


Union Elections Advisor

New Web Tool Outlines Provisions to Ensure Fairly Conducted Union Elections

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the release of a new online tool to help labor organizations understand the rules governing union elections.  The Union Elections Advisor describes the rights of union members and candidates in union officer elections, and the responsibilities of union officers and others involved in conducting elections, as prescribed by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended (LMRDA).

The Advisor was created to help election officials plan and conduct local union officer elections. The LMRDA requires periodic election of union officers, and prescribes minimum standards to ensure that such elections will be fairly conducted. Specific provisions are included to ensure that union members can participate without fear of interference or reprisal, and to protect their right to nominate candidates, run for office, and vote in officer elections. The LMRDA also sets forth the rights of candidates, provides for secret ballot elections, and includes other safeguards to ensure a fair election.

The Union Elections Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws.  To access it, visit the elaws Web site at www.dol.gov/elaws. To learn more about the LMRDA or related matters, visit DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) Web site at www.dol.gov/olms.


Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor

New Tool Helps Employers Understand Disability Nondiscrimination Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the availability of a new tool to help America’s employers ensure their employment policies and practices do not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities.

The online Disability Nondiscrimination Advisor helps employers quickly determine which federal disability nondiscrimination laws apply to their business or organization and their responsibilities under them.  It asks users to answer a few relevant questions, such as nature of organization, size of staff and whether the business or organization receives federal financial assistance.  Based on responses provided, the Advisor then generates a customized list of federal disability nondiscrimination laws that likely apply, along with easy-to-understand information about employers’ responsibilities under each of them.

This Advisor can also help employees, job applicants, and people applying for or participating in federally funded programs learn more about their rights under disability nondiscrimination laws.  In addition, it includes a Guide on Employing People with Disabilities that outlines resources available to help employers comply with disability nondiscrimination laws.

The Disability Nondiscrimination Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws.  To access it, visit the elaws Web site at www.dol.gov/elaws.  To learn more about DOL’s efforts to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities, visit the ODEP Web site at www.dol.gov/odep.


e-VETS elaws Advisor

Online Advisor Helps Veterans and Service Members Navigate Web Resources

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) offers an online tool to assist Veterans, Service Members and their families and caregivers quickly and easily navigate Web-based information on a variety of topics of interest to them, including education, job training and employment opportunities. 

The new e-VETS Advisor offers access to more than 11,000 services and resources at the national, state and local levels.  In addition to education, job training and employment, it provides information on benefits and compensation; family and caregiver support; health; housing; homeless assistance; and transportation and travel. The Advisor also allows users to search resources specific to his or her state.  A simple question and answer system connects users with the information they need with just a few clicks.

The e-VETS Advisor was developed by DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) and integrates with the National Resource Directory (NRD), a Web-based directory of services and resources for Veterans, Service Members and their families and caregivers.  The NRD is a collaborative effort between the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs and is maintained on a daily basis.

The e-VETS Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws and resources.  To access it, visit the elaws Web site at www.dol.gov/elaws.  To learn more about DOL’s efforts to assist Veterans and transitioning service members, visit the VETS Web site at www.dol.gov/vets.


OSHA Recordkeeping elaws Advisor

Online Advisor Helps Employers Understand OSHA Recordkeeping Rules

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the release of a new online tool to help employers understand their responsibilities to report and record work-related injuries and illnesses under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.

The OSHA Recordkeeping Advisor helps employers and others responsible for workplace safety and health quickly determine whether an injury or illness is work-related; whether a work-related injury or illness needs to be recorded; and which provisions of the regulations apply when recording a work-related injury or illness. To help employers in making these determinations, the OSHA Recordkeeping Advisor relies on their responses to a series of pre-set questions. The system does not, however, store any information. It is written in plain language and may be particularly helpful to small business employers.

Recordkeeping is a critical part of an employer’s safety and health efforts for several reasons. It can help identify problem areas needing to be addressed, leading to more effective safety and health programs and prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. It can also help increase employees’ awareness and make them more likely to follow safe work practices and report workplace hazards. Furthermore, OSHA relies on recordkeeping data to accurately identify trends in injuries and illnesses or new workplace hazards.

The OSHA Recordkeeping Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws and resources. To access it, visit the elaws Web site at www.dol.gov/elaws. To learn more about DOL’s efforts to protect the health and safety of America’s workforce, visit www.osha.gov.


NEWS BRIEFS


Web Tool Ensures Compliance with H-1B Visa Program

A new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) online tool helps employers and others understand how to comply with requirements under the H-1B visa program, which allows for the temporary employment of foreign workers in the U.S. in certain specialty occupations. The interactive, online H-1B Advisor helps users determine, by answering questions relevant to specific H-1B classified workers, if they fulfill the requirements of the visa program. The Advisor also outlines notification requirements, monetary issues, worksite issues, recordkeeping, worker protections and enforcement, as well as provides information about additional requirements for employers deemed to be H-1B dependent or willful violators.  This resource is one of a number of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL.  For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Web Tool Helps Labor Organizations Conduct Fair Elections

A new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Web tool helps labor organizations understand the rules governing union elections.  The Union Elections Advisor describes the rights of union members and candidates in union officer elections, and the responsibilities of union officers and others involved in conducting elections, as prescribed by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended (LMRDA).  The Advisor was created to help election officials plan and conduct local union officer elections.  Specific provisions in the Act ensure that union members can participate without fear of interference or reprisal, and to protect their right to nominate candidates, run for office, and vote in officer elections.  This resource is one of a number of online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL.  For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Web Tool Helps Employers Understand Disability Laws

A new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Web tool helps America’s employers ensure their employment policies and practices don’t discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities.  The Disability Nondiscrimination Advisor helps employers quickly determine which federal disability nondiscrimination laws apply to their business or organization and their responsibilities under them.  It asks users to answer a few relevant questions, such as nature of organization, size of staff and whether the business or organization receives federal financial assistance.  Based on responses provided, the Advisor then generates a customized list of federal disability nondiscrimination laws that likely apply, along with easy-to-understand information about employers’ responsibilities under each of them.  This resource is one of a number of online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL.  For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Web Tool Helps Veterans and Service Members Access Available Resources

A U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Web tool helps returning Veterans, Service Members and their families quickly and easily navigate Web-based information on a variety of topics, including education, job training and employment opportunities.  The online e-VETS Advisor offers access to more than 11,000 services and resources at the national, state and local levels.  In addition to education, job training and employment, it provides information on benefits and compensation; family and caregiver support; health; housing; homeless assistance; and transportation and travel.  The system integrates with the National Resource Directory (NRD), which is managed collaboratively by the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs and maintained on a daily basis.  This resource is one of several online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL.  For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Web Tool Helps Employers Determine Which DOL Laws Affect Them

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has unveiled a new FirstStep Recordkeeping, Reporting and Notices elaws Advisor. By using this tool, employers can easily determine which recordkeeping, reporting and notice requirements apply to them under the major laws administered by the Department. This elaws Advisor has been integrated with the revised and expanded FirstStep Poster and FirstStep Employment Law Overview Advisors. All three Advisors help employers identify the federal employment laws relevant to them and then explain how to comply with each law’s requirements. By asking a series of questions, the Advisors simulate a conversation with a DOL expert and guide users to customized information that helps them understand the requirements of each law. For more information, visit www.dol.gov/elaws/firststep.

Web Tools Help Employers Understand Overtime Rules

Two DOL Web tools help employers and workers understand how the overtime rules affect them. DOL's FairPay Web Site, located at www.dol.gov/fairpay, offers online training seminars and fact sheets addressing the revised rules by both exemption and occupation. DOL's FLSA Overtime Security Advisor, located at www.dol.gov/elaws/overtime.htm, helps workers and businesses understand whether a particular employee is entitled to overtime protection by asking questions about his or her primary job responsibilities and compensation. Then, based on the users responses, the system makes a determination as to whether or not the employee is likely to be exempt from overtime pay requirements. This resource is one of several online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL. For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Web Tool Clarifies Which Activities Constitute Hours Worked

Confused about whether employees must be paid for break or meal time? What about vacations or jury duty? The U.S. Department of Labor created a special Web tool to help employers and workers understand which of an employees work-related activities are considered "hours worked" - and therefore hours for which they must be paid. DOL's Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Hours Worked Advisor, located at www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/hoursworked/default.asp, provides information about the general principles for determining hours worked and outlines how they apply in common workplace scenarios. Specific circumstances addressed include training and orientation programs; on-call time; travel time; civic or charitable work; physical exams and drug testing; holidays, vacation and sick time; and breaks and meal periods. This resource is one of several online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL. For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Web Tool Advises on Federal Poster Requirements

A U.S. Department of Labor Web tool allows businesses to simply and quickly determine which federal DOL posters they are required to display - and print them free of charge. DOL's Poster Advisor, located at www.dol.gov/elaws/posters.htm, asks employers to answer a series of short, pre-set questions about pertinent factors such as the general nature and location of their business and whether or not it has federal contracts and subcontracts. Then, based on their responses, the Advisor generates a customized list of their posting requirements, with links to printable electronic versions of the posters. The Poster Advisor also provides a quick and easy way for employers to periodically confirm they are up to date with their posting requirements. This resource is one of several online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL. For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Online Tool Helps Employers Understand the Family and Medical Leave Act

A U.S. Department of Labor Web tool helps employers and workers understand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year and requires that group health benefits be maintained during the leave. DOL's FMLA Advisor, located at www.dol.gov/elaws/fmla.htm, provides information about employer coverage and employee eligibility under the law and addresses valid reasons for family and medical leave, employee/employer notification responsibilities and employee rights and benefits. This resource is one of several online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL. For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Web Tool Helps Employers Understand Reservists Reemployment Rights

Many National Guard and Reservists are returning from Iraq. Do these service men and women get their civilian jobs back upon return? It's a relevant question for many individuals and employers, and thanks to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), answers are just a click away. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Advisor, located at www.dol.gov/elaws/userra.htm, is a free Web tool that helps explain USERRA - an important DOL law intended to ease the transition between military service and civilian employment. It also provides a notice employers may post or distribute to fulfill their requirement to notify employees of their rights and benefits under USERRA. This resource is one of several online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL. For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws. For more information about veterans employment issues, contact DOL's Veterans Employment and Training Service at www.dol.gov/vets.

Web Site Offers Retirement Savings Advice for Small Businesses

Small businesses interested in offering their employees retirement savings benefits can learn about the various options available by using a U.S. Department of Labor Web resource. DOL's Small Business Retirement Savings Advisor, located at www.dol.gov/elaws/pwbaplan.htm, summarizes the various options available to small businesses, many of which are easy to administer and offer tax advantages and other financial benefits. The Advisor also has a question and answer feature that helps employers determine which of the options is most appropriate for their business based on relevant factors such as the size of their staff and whether or not they want contributions to be made by the employer only, employee only or both. This resource is one of several online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL. For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Online Advisor Offers Valuable Information on Group Health Benefits

A U.S. Department of Labor online tool can help employees and their families make informed decisions about their employer-based health benefits, particularly when facing specific life and work changes, such as marriage, childbirth, death, divorce, job loss, a new job or retirement. The Health Benefits Advisor, located at www.dol.gov/elaws/ebsa/health, provides information about health coverage under private plans, definitions of key terms related to health insurance and links to other resources, such as public health plans and state insurance offices nationwide. It guides individuals through specific requirements and rights under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This resource is one of several online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL. For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Web Tool Clarifies Federal Contractor Compliance Requirements

A U.S. Department of Labor online tool helps federal contractors and subcontractors understand basic coverage and compliance requirements for the equal employment opportunity laws administered by its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). To do this, the Federal Contractor Compliance Advisor, located at www.dol.gov/elaws/ofccp.htm, asks a series of simple questions about the number of people they employ, the nature of their industry or enterprise and the type and size of their federal contract or subcontract. Then, based on the users responses, the Advisor generates a customized list of OFCCP equal employment opportunity laws and regulations that likely apply to their business and provides links to relevant compliance assistance materials for each of them. This resource is one of several online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL. For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

DOL’s Online Advisors Clarify FLSA Overtime Hours and Pay Requirements

Confused about how to calculate overtime pay?  Employers and employees often have questions about overtime hours and pay.  The Department of Labor has created two elaws Advisors that work hand-in-hand to help answer these questions.  The elaws Advisors are free Internet-based tools that help employers comply with federal employment laws, and help workers understand their rights and responsibilities under these laws.  The Hours Worked Advisor helps users figure out which work hours are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements.  The Advisor explains whether time spent in meetings, training, meal periods, and other pursuits is compensable time.  The Overtime Calculator Advisor describes how different payments, like bonuses, commissions, and tips impact overtime pay for any employee entitled to overtime pay – and also shows how the calculations are made using the pay information provided by the user.  To view these and other helpful Advisors, please visit www.dol.gov/elaws.  For more compliance assistance information from the Wage and Hour Division, go to www.wagehour.dol.gov or call 1-866-4USWage (1-866-487-9243).

Help from DOL: Web Tool Helps Employers Understand OSHA Recordkeeping Rules

A U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Web tool helps employers understand their responsibilities to report and record work-related injuries and illnesses under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. The OSHA Recordkeeping Advisor helps employers and others responsible for workplace safety and health quickly determine whether an injury or illness is work-related; whether a work-related injury or illness needs to be recorded; and which provisions of the regulations apply when recording a work-related injury or illness. To help employers in making these determinations, the OSHA Recordkeeping Advisor relies on their responses to a series of pre-set questions. The system does not, however, store any information. This resource is one of a number of online elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by DOL. For a complete list, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.


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