What are the Different Types of Federal Labor Laws?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Federal labor laws are national laws to which all regions and states must adhere. Although many individual regions may have a separate code of laws, it is generally not permitted to directly contrast with federal labor laws. There are many different types of federal labor laws, which lay out guidelines for the treatment, rights, and protection of workers.

The historic use of child labor is now considered illegal.
The historic use of child labor is now considered illegal.

The largest segment of federal labor laws deals with hours and wages. Some governments may set a federal minimum wage that may be adjusted from time to time, based on factors like inflation, the economy, and cost of living expenses. Many countries have mandates about maximum work hours permitted in a week, as well as penalties for overworking employers and agreements about overtime wages that allow a worker to voluntarily agree to work extra.

Overworking employees is typically covered by federal labor laws.
Overworking employees is typically covered by federal labor laws.

Some hours and wages federal labor laws manage permitted leaves of absence from a job. Permissible reasons to ask for leave without fear of losing a job may include the birth of a child; medical problems afflicting a worker or family member; or the death of a close relative such as a parent, child, or spouse. Under family or medical leave laws, workers are permitted to keep their job and may receive wages during the period of absence or retain access to employee insurance policies.

Federal labor laws may also dictate standards about who can be hired and under what circumstances. Child labor laws prevent the exploitation of very young people by prohibiting work under a certain age. Other provisions of child labor laws may concern the age at which work is allowed, a minimum wage for youths, and restrictions on hours and jobs permitted.

Protecting the rights of workers is a major concern of some federal labor laws. This may include statutes that prohibit discrimination in hiring and opportunity based on age, sex, physical disabilities, race, sexual orientation, religious creed, or political views. Other laws that may concern a worker's rights include regulations guaranteeing a safe workplace, where workers are provided information about potentially harmful substances in the workplace and are given adequate safety gear if necessary.

Another main division of federal labor laws includes the overseeing and disbursement of government contracts. These laws lay out guidelines detailing how workers and contractors will be hired and paid to do work on government projects, such as restoring public buildings or monuments. Some laws also require that the workers hired by the contractors be paid a certain minimum wage in order to be eligible for the job.

Federal labor laws help determine safety conditions for workers.
Federal labor laws help determine safety conditions for workers.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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