At BenefitMall in Dallas, account representatives work with clients to help them process payroll, administer their benefits and remain in compliance with state and federal laws. It is not unusual for them to remind employers about some of their obligations spelled out clearly in advisor issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
For practical purposes, a DOL advisor is simply an electronic guide that helps employers maintain legal compliance. On the department’s e-laws website, there are links to no fewer than 28 advisors covering a full range of topics from overtime pay to OSHA training to nondiscrimination.
Below are five of the most common advisors every payroll and HR department should know well. Being familiar with the guidelines contained in each advisor reduces the chances of noncompliance.
#1. Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the ‘bible’ on employee classification, wages, overtime pay, and child labor laws. An advisor consisting of six different sections is available on the DOL’s e-laws website. This particular advisor may be the lengthiest of all. It takes employers through the entire FLSA in a step-by-step Q&A format.
BenefitMall says employers should pay special attention to the rules regarding employee classification and overtime pay. We know that the overtime rule is currently in flux; how things play out should be known in a couple of months.
#2. Poster Advisor
Federal law requires employers to display a number of posters on their premises. Requirements are tied to industry, a number of employees, and other factors. Examples of the posters include Employee Rights, Job Safety & Health, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Medical Leave Act. The Poster Advisor spells it all out clearly.
#3. Drug-Free Workplace Advisor
It is important to be familiar with this advisor for one simple reason: The Labor Department ended its drug-free program nearly 8 years ago. The online advisor dealing with drug-free workplaces is a seven-segment advisor with links to outside sources. It explains how to maintain a drug-free environment in a number of different industries.
#4. Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor
This advisor is intended to help employers better understand how federal disability and nondiscrimination laws apply to their businesses. It covers some of the rules in Titles I and II of the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and more. This is an important advisor offering valuable guidance that can protect a company against civil litigation for discrimination against those with disabilities.
#5. Medical and Disability-Related Leave Advisor
Finally, the advisor dealing with medical and disability-related leave is intended to help employees understand their rights for taking leave for medical purposes or because of a disability. The advisor covers the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It is important to note that this advisor does not cover information about general health insurance benefits or any laws relating to the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, this advisor is completely separate from the previously mentioned Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor.
Freely Accessible to Everyone
BenefitMall reminds employers that the Department of Labor advisors are freely accessible to everyone through the department’s e-law website. While a third-party payroll and benefits provider may not necessarily be able to advise clients on most aspects of advisor content, they are competent in applying the laws covered by the advisors to payroll and benefits administration.
It is the responsibility of employers to know and understand all applicable state and federal laws governing employment. Ignorance is not an option. The advisors are offered to provide employers with the information they need to maintain compliance.