Federal Laws that Protect U.S. Employees

The past 100 years have seen a lot of progress in employee protection in the United States of America, especially in cases of job safety, benefits, hiring, and promotions. The 20th century encouraged employees to push for their rights, causing the establishment of essential labor protection laws that millions of Americans trust, even today.

There are a total of approximately 180 laws that protect workers. These include rules related to salaries and wages, as well as parental leave rules. Below are some of the most important federal laws that protect American employees:

Minimum Wage

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all American employees are to receive a fair minimum wage for the work they do. Ever since 2009, all private and public employers must give employees a fee of $7.25 per hour, making this the minimum wage.

However, over the years, many legislators have pushed to increase this amount. FLSA also ensures that nonexempt workers are compensated in case of overtime work.

This law also protects minors who choose to work. Children under the age of 16 can only work for a set number of hours in the nonagricultural department. Moreover, children under the age of 18 cannot lawfully be employed for jobs that are considered to be risky.

Workplace Safety

American workplace dangers were minimized by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA). Specific safety provisions were formed by the legislation, focusing on construction, maritime, and agricultural employment. A “General Duty Clause” was also made a part of the act so that no employer could put their workers at clear risk at the workplace.

Even though it is mainly OSHA’s job to enforce the law, state agencies also play a part in enforcing some provisions. Although these laws protect most employees, those who are self-employed and work on family farms cannot take advantage of these laws.

Health Coverage

The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, making health insurance compulsory for employees in medium and large-scale businesses.

According to the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment provision, organizations that have 50 or more employees who work full-time must be given some form of health insurance. Otherwise, these organizations will be fined and will have to pay a penalty fee. Employees are “full-time” workers if they work for 30 hours or more at a company.


In conclusion, although not as many in other countries, there are some federal laws that protect employees in America. Legal protections aim to ensure that every worker is given a minimum source of income and is safeguarded in the workplace so that no employee is taken advantage of by their employer.

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