If your business has employees, you should become familiar with all aspects of federal, state, and local employment law. Federal employment law is described in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. State employment law is determined in the California Labor Code and is administered by the Department of Industrial Relations. County and city laws may also apply.

Key areas covered by federal and state employment law include the following:

  • Wages and work hours, such as minimum wage and overtime policies
  • Safety and health, such as occupational health and safety
  • Health benefits and retirement standards, such as employee benefit plans
  • Other workplace standards, such as family and medical leave
  • Work authorization for non-citizens
  • Working conditions and equal opportunity in businesses with federal or state contracts
  • Employment laws governing various industries, such as agriculture, transportation, or public works

Understanding the implications of and complying with federal, state, and local employment law can be difficult. In some cases, laws between the different governmental bodies may differ, such as with minimum wage rates. In most cases, the more stringent or “worker friendly” standard applies. So, for example, California’s higher minimum wage takes precedent over the lower federal minimum wage.

Fortunately, resources exist to help small business owners with employees sort through the various employment laws. The U.S. Department of Labor provides several ways to access compliance assistance through their web site. The California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement provides information about employment law enforcement through its web site as well.

How BOS Partners Can Help:

BOS partners can help you learn more about employment law and how it may affect your business. Each of the resources below has information and services to assist you:

Additional Online Resources:

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