4 Ways to Stay on Top of Changing Labor Laws

Written by Rachael Skinner

October 2, 2018

Labor laws are constantly evolving. From changes in minimum wages and overtime pay, to how to handle split shifts and breaks, as an employer, keeping on top of changing labor laws is critical to maintaining a good relationship with your employees, avoiding labor compliance violation fines, and preventing lawsuits.

What are the best ways to stay on top of changing labor laws? Remember, it isn’t just national laws, but also state, city, and sometimes even more local or job-specific laws you must comply with. There are several areas of focus including healthcare, benefits, worker’s compensation, wages, unemployment, and more. Because of this, there is not one single resource that provides for all your needs, which makes it all even more complex.

Here are a few solutions to consider:

Start with an Audit

An audit of your labor compliance can be performed by a third-party provider looking specifically at your wage policies and procedures. Proactive audits can help you avoid fines for issues you weren’t aware you were violating, as in the case of this Charleston restaurant who ended up paying out thousands in back wages.

Not only will this help with determining where you may have violations, it can help you update policies and communicate with staff about any areas of ambiguity or concern they have in regards to their rights and the law. It can be a complete team building experience if done right.

The United States Department of Labor

The US Department of Labor is a great resource for learning more about labor laws, including summarizing the major components, obtaining required posters, and downloading forms. Search for specific topics all in a do-it-yourself format. A great resource when you already know what information you need, or for a general understanding of federal laws.

Also, utilize your State’s Department of Labor resources to stay up-to-date on more local employment law changes.

Industry Association Memberships

By being part of an association, such as an industry-specific profession group (like the National Restaurant Association or National Retail Federation), can offer benefits to its members including legal support, important industry news, market research, HR support, and additional resources to help your specific industry.

Consider the expense of these memberships in regards to the specific benefits you need, as there are also paid resources that are specific to HR and/or employment law topics.


HR Specialists, Labor Compliance Experts, and Employment Law Attorneys are also great resources for staying on top of labor compliance. While they are typically more expensive than memberships or do-it-yourself databases, they can provide unique, specific policies and documents; locale-specific law information; and help protect you from lawsuits by making sure you are compliant in a variety of ways.

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