Do You Know Your Rights as Workers?
Not everyone has the complete knowledge and understanding of their rights as a significant member of the working force in the US. However, it is important to recognize and identify your rights for your own benefit and protection.
According to the survey conducted by Statista, the employment-population ratio in the United States has reached 60.1% in 2017. That is about 153.44 million people who work for a pay or profit. But it is a big question if this huge number of people is aware of their rights as workers. Some of them are just working for the sake of having a source of income and to provide shelter and food for their respective families.
In 2016, an average American works 34.4 hours a week, which is roughly an 8-hour work day. This is based on the data presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the time an employee spends in his workplace, issues, problems and labor laws violations are being committed. One must understand and distinguish the fine line between a disciplinary action and learn the remedies against abuse by the employers.
To protect the rights of a worker, there are hundreds of federal and state labor laws legislated. Of course, one best option for you as a worker is to seek guidance, legal advice, and consultation from the Arizona Compensation Attorneys. They can give answers to your questions and concerns.
The United States Department of Labor, National Labour Relations Board, and the different states are working hand-in-hand to stipulate labor-friendly laws. Have time to read and understand these most common workers’ privileges to give you a better perception about your labor rights.
Working Time and Wages
To avoid unfair and unjust payment for workers, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes proper standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, number of working hours, record-keeping, and even youth employment regulations for both private and public sectors. FLSA covers the following:
- There is a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour (subject to change depending on the state).
- There’s overtime pay for the non-exempt employees for working more than 40 hours per week. A rate of one and one-half multiplied by the regular rate should be followed and observed.
- The working hours are subject to the prescribed time issued by the law, unless they are authorized to work off-site.
- FLSA prohibits minors to be employed in any job employment site.
Safe Working Environment
Safety and protection of workers in a specific workplace should be given the most importance. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) provides the safety standards and regulates healthy working conditions not only to the employees but to the employers as well.
As per OSHA, employers should be held responsible for maintaining safe and healthy working environment for the employees – free from potential hazards, toxic chemical and other substances, and other dangerous situations. To achieve OSHA’s standards, trainings, seminars, and safety education are conducted in order to give the essential safety guidelines for the workers to keep an eye on.
Freedom from Discrimination
The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 clearly states that race, color, religion, sex, or national origin employment discrimination is prohibited and considered to be illegal. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) implements, investigates, and makes sure that there is no unjust treatment against each employee. A person who complains about discrimination can file charges or a lawsuit against his employer.
Men and women who work in the same workplace should be considered equal. Both are protected by the Equal Pay Act, which states that salaries, bonuses, overtime pays, and other benefits should be the same.
Benefits and Compensation
Workers and/or their families are compensated when they have sustained injuries, developed a disability, or died during the performance of their duties. The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) can shoulder all the expenses made in addition to the wage lost.
Unemployed workers are also protected by Unemployment Compensation Act. The state safeguards the jobless by providing them income until they can find a new job.
Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) is a collective contribution of the employees with their employers in funding for the workers’ Social Security and Medicare programs.
There are many other labor rights that you should be aware of. It is important to equip yourself with such information. Be aware of these legal matters and consult experts if there’s a particular concern you want to address.