Being in compliance with all of labor laws and its notices is a given. However, it's one thing know what labor laws entail, and another to fully understand their actions.
Here are the key things you need to know as a restaurant owner to remain in compliance about labor law posters.
What’s a labor law notice, anyway?
First, it is important to understand what labor laws are. In a nutshell, labor laws protect employees from dangerous situations and work environments both physically and emotionally. Labor law notices are postings that are required by law to be displayed in certain types of businesses.
The United States Department of Labor is the organization that enforces the federal labor law regulations and provides the wide array of labor law posters available to business owners.
State labor offices also provide posters and notices for businesses. To make things a tiny bit more complicated, certain governmental offices adhere to poster size requirements. Some explain that they need to be “easily read and accessible” for employees throughout the day. In addition to all of the federal Labor law notices that need to be posted (which include Federal Labor Standards Act Wage, Federal Minimum Wage Laws, Equal Opportunity Laws, Governmental Contract Laws, Agricultural Laws, Employee Polygraph Protection Act Laws, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Laws, and Immigration Laws), some states may require their own specific statutes to be posted in your workplace.
While all of these may not apply to your particular business, it will benefit you to become familiar with the labor standards information for new and small businesses as well as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandatory postings that you may be required to post. State and local laws vary widely. For example, The California Department of Industrial Relations holds businesses accountable for posting notices with information about paid sick leave, payday notices, emergency phone numbers, and worker’s compensation notices. In New York, the state government contains at least 17-19 (depending upon the type of employees working in the business) labor law notices to be posted.
How do I know which labor laws apply to me?
With so many statutes and laws with varying workplace poster requirements, it can be confusing. The best way to make sure that you have the correct signage posted is to check with the U.S Department of Labor as well as your state and local governments. This will insure that you have all of the correct postings for your type of business. Also, certain states require bilingual signage additions which you will need to consider as well.
There is also the State and Local Government Self-Assessment Tool available to help navigate this question more deeply. The FirstStep Poster Advisor is also available. Based on the personalized information that a business owner provides, the interactive tool helps employers understand which posters are mandatory for its business. It can help owners and managers figure out the exact postings that they are legally required to make available to employees.
How often should I update my labor law notices?
Federal laws are subject to change along with state laws. It is important to remember that if law changes, you must update the notice you have posted the day that it takes into affect. Also note that states and local government labor offices may change laws on short notice, so it’s important to check regularly for your own protection. It is suggested to choose one day per month to review local and state websites to check for any changes. It would also be helpful to do this on the federal site to ensure that you are always in compliance. Some federal posters contain scannable QR codes that inform you if you are using the most up-to-date federal poster.
How can I keep up with all of this?
A new business has many obligations. It is crucial to remain in compliance with the legal statutes both federally and locally; especially when labor law posters are time sensitive. The U.S. Department of Labor offers compliance assistance tool kits to business owners to help stay organized and up-to-date. On their website there are links to state labor offices to help make it easier to navigate your compliance check.
Additionally, there are several businesses that are in the business to help you meet state, local, and OSHA poster and law requirements. These businesses offer a variety of packages that provide tools that help you stay up-to-date and compliant. Some offer all-in-one posters that can be used in several areas, especially if you have limited space. Businesses that help manage labor law compliance and notices can be handy for a busy (especially new) restaurant owner.
It's easy to get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day restaurant operations; especially when it comes to restaurant labor compliance. However, know that there are tools out there to help you navigate this sometimes tricky area. You work hard to employ the most dedicated staff. They count on you to make sure that their safety and security is your priority, too. This is another reason you want to make sure cover all of your labor law bases right from the beginning!