DoL Workplace Law Manual Gets Freshened Up

November 30, 2009 ( – The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) is now offering an updated version of its Employment Law Guide, which describes the major workplace laws the agency enforces.

A DoL news release said that among other things the publication pinpoints information about worker rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws. It also helps small businesses develop wage, benefit, safety and health, and nondiscrimination policies, the agency said.

The updated version addresses recent important changes in employment laws, including the increase in the federal minimum wage and an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that grants qualified relatives of veterans leave to care for ill or injured uniformed service members or to fulfill obligations that arise when a relative is called to active duty in the military.

The guide also now includes a chapter on child labor regulations in the agriculture industry and one on the Defense Base Act, which provides workers’ compensation benefits to civilian employees working outside the United States on U.S. military bases or under certain contracts with the U.S.

The guide is a companion to the department’s FirstStep overview advisor, an online system that allows employers to quickly and easily determine which federal employment laws apply to them by answering a few simple questions about relevant variables. Each chapter in the guide corresponds to the laws addressed in the FirstStep advisor, outlining coverage under the law; its basic requirements; employee rights; recordkeeping, reporting, notice and poster requirements; penalties and sanctions for non-compliance; relation to state, local and other federal laws; and contact information for further assistance.

“Fair and safe practices in the workplace are a top priority for the Department of Labor, and we want to make it simple for both employers and workers to understand the federal policies that protect them,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, in the news release.

The FirstStep site is at  while the updated law guide is available at