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Federal Employment Laws: Employers
Not all of the employment laws referenced apply to all employers or all employees, particularly state and local government agencies. For information on whether a particular employer or employee is covered by a law, please use the links provided for more detailed information.
Some of these laws may not apply to federal agencies, or additional laws pertaining just to federal agencies may supersede them. Please contact the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at www.opm.gov/pandemic/index.asp for guidance.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
If you or your employees are out with the flu or are caring for ill family members, check with the Department of Labor (DOL) for information on whether such leave is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, covered employers must provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during a 12-month leave year for specified family and medical reasons , which may include the flu where complications arise. Employees on FMLA leave are entitled to the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms as existed before they took FMLA leave.
Other Federal Employment Laws
- If you have to lay off workers, DOL can provide answers to questions on COBRA requirements (continuation of health insurance), health coverage portability requirements under HIPAA, responsibilities in operating retirement plans, unemployment insurance, and providing last paychecks.
- If you have to shut down a facility or operating unit for more than six months or layoff 50 or more employees during any 30‑day period at a single site of employment, check with DOL for information on the requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
- If your pension and health plan administrators have difficulty meeting the deadline for filing a Form 5500 Annual Report or other disclosures required by Title I of ERISA, you can request an extension by filing Form 5558 with the Internal Revenue Service. Check with DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration for possible relief in extending the filing deadlines.
- If your business has a shortage of workers and is looking to “volunteers” to help out, be aware that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has stringent requirements with respect to the use of volunteers. In general, covered , nonexempt workers working for private, for-profit employers have to be paid at least the minimum wage and cannot volunteer their services. Check with DOL for the rules governing the circumstances where volunteering in the public and private, non-profit sectors may be allowed.
- If you have questions on workers’ compensation issues, contact your state workers' compensation official .
- For information on workplace safety and health standards and guidance, go to OSHA’s Web site or contact your OSHA regional and area offices or state plan OSHA office, or state consultation program.
- Information on the employment and reemployment rights for veterans and reservists under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) (USERRA) can be obtained from your local Veterans' Employment and Training Service ( VETS).