In the construction industry, labor employment law compliance can determine the success of businesses. With a projected doubling of global industry growth over the next decade, compliance becomes a lot more important. A string of factors– such as employee retention rate, legal consequences, and employee morale– can be affected by it.
Regulatory frameworks establish a secure work environment for your workforce. Consequently, it also shields your business from potential legal repercussions and penalties.
The construction industry employs approximately 9 million individuals. However, the hazards of work locations in this sector emphasize the critical need for strict labor law compliance. Each year, new employment laws or updates to older ones are implemented to refine the working conditions.
Labor laws are multifaceted and a one-size-fits-all solution may not always work. Employers must strategize to contribute to workforce well-being and propel business growth simultaneously. Apart from a robust safety policy and regular equipment inspections, a workflow automation tool can aid in labor law compliance. These tools offer various benefits such as
- Accurate record-keeping for working hours, overtime, shift schedules, etc.
- Real-time employee location along with breadcrumb reports
- Safety protocols using multi-level back office threat escalation using IVR, SMS, and or email.
With automation, construction companies can enhance efficiency, reduce errors, and proactively address compliance challenges.
This blog will delve into the fundamentals of construction labor employment law, spotlighting crucial regulations, benefits, and key changes for 2024.
Construction Labor Employment Law
Following are the major labor employment laws for construction industry in the U.S.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
At the forefront of labor laws impacting the construction industry stands the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). It mandates adherence by construction firms to foster workplace safety and safeguard employees from potential hazards. Key facets of OSHA comprehension include:
- Mandating construction companies to have a safe workplace devoid of recognized hazards.
- Imposing the responsibility on employers to effectively communicate safety standards and provide comprehensive training for their workforce.
- Conducting routine inspections to verify compliance with safety regulations is a core practice of OSHA.
- Non-compliance with OSHA standards may lead to penalties and fines levied against construction companies.
2024 OSHA Guideline Changes
- Starting January 1, 2024, new regulations mandate that establishments with 100 or more employees, within specific high-hazard industries, must submit case-specific data from their injury and recordkeeping forms, along with their OSHA Form 300A annual summary.
- Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in designated industries and those with 250 or more employees are obligated to maintain OSHA 300 records. The requirement remains to electronically submit information annually.
- To facilitate compliance, employers can utilize the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) accessible from March 2 each year to submit the necessary information from the preceding calendar year to OSHA.
For these OSHA updates, a lone worker safety app can prove invaluable. These apps can enhance real-time incident reporting, support electronic recordkeeping, streamline compliance-related documentation, and provide an additional layer of safety. This further reduces the number of mishaps in your business, helping you stay complaint with labor employment law.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) constitutes another pivotal labor law with direct implications for the construction industry. It lays down standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor. Essential aspects of FLSA for both construction companies and workers include:
- Ensuring that construction workers are compensated at least the federal minimum wage for their hours of labor.
- Mandating the provision of overtime pay for any work exceeding 40 hours in a workweek.
- Requiring employers to maintain precise records of employees’ worked hours, wages, and other pertinent documentation.
- Enforcing child labor laws that delineate age limits, permissible working hours, and the types of work suitable for individuals under 18 years old.
2024 FLSA Guideline Changes
The federal minimum wage has remained stagnant at $7.25/hour for over a decade. However, you must regularly review the applicable minimum wage laws in your jurisdiction. Further, assess the workforce composition (including standard, seasonal, tipped, and minor workers) to establish the appropriate employee rate of pay.
|State Minimum Wage for Most Workers
|Effective January 1, 2024
|New York State
|New York City
National Labor Relations Act
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) regulates the interaction between employers and employees, including the right to unionize. Although unionization may not be as widespread in the construction industry as in other sectors, essential considerations for construction companies under the NLRA include:
- Affirming construction workers’ entitlement to engage in collective bargaining and establish or join labor unions.
- Prohibiting employers from interfering with workers’ rights to discuss or coordinate activities related to labor.
- Outlawing unfair labor practices, such as discrimination or retaliation against unionized workers.
2024 NLRA Guideline Changes
In October 2023, the National Labor Relations Board issued a final rule outlining the criteria for joint-employer status under the NLRA. This rule will be enforceable starting February 26, 2024. The updated rule broadens the previous standard by considering the alleged joint employers’ authority to control crucial terms and conditions of employment. According to the new rule, “essential terms and conditions of employment” encompass:
- Wages, benefits, and other forms of compensation.
- Hours of work and scheduling.
- Assignment of duties.
- Supervision of duties’ performance.
- Work rules and directives governing the manner, means, and methods of duty performance and grounds for discipline.
- Tenure of employment, covering hiring and termination.
- Working conditions related to the safety and health of employees.
As the effective date nears, it is advisable to thoroughly review existing contracts with third parties. It will help in determining potential joint-employer liability under the revised standard.
Labor laws play a crucial role in overseeing and safeguarding the construction industry, ensuring the protection of workers’ rights. Prioritizing adherence to regulations like OSHA, FLSA, and NLRA is imperative for construction companies to guarantee the well-being, safety, and equitable treatment of their workforce.
By staying complaint with labor employment law, construction firms can cultivate a positive work environment, mitigate legal risks, and uphold a robust industry reputation. Workers, in turn, can experience a sense of security, protection, and just compensation for their dedicated efforts.
With workflow automation, business owners no longer need to spare extensive hours to manually track and manage compliance processes related to labor laws. This minimizes the associated costs of compliance oversight. The efficiency gained through automation allows businesses to allocate resources strategically, redirecting them to other critical areas of operation.
It is important to stay up-to-date with labor law updates and seek legal counsel when needed. With the new year, many labor law changes are likely to come into effect. A strategy that incorporates automation will help drive business and help support labor law compliance, keeping you ahead of competition.