Construction is one of the most important businesses in today’s economy; the construction business literally builds the economy of every nation. There is no doubt that even today, construction plays a pivotal role in the economy’s growth and is a basic necessity for developing infrastructure.
Important Labor Laws Constructions Businesses Need to Know
1. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Ensures that minimum wage and overtime pay standards are followed for young and old workers as well as immigrants. This rule applies to all construction businesses with more than two employees.
2. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act)
A feeling of security is a fundamental right, and this OSH Act helps ensure that construction businesses cultivate a safe workplace for their employees. OSHA, as it is popularly referred to, applies to all construction businesses with one or more employees.
3. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
It allows employees to unionize and engage in collective bargaining and allows for a conducive environment for employees to seek better working conditions and make a representation without fear of retaliation. The NLRA applies to all construction businesses with two or more employees.
4. The OSHA Hazard Communication Standards
Requires an employer to provide information about workplace risks and the preventive measures to be taken; this includes classification and labeling of chemicals. Employees have the right to know about any dangerous chemicals in the construction sites. They must be aware of the imminent dangers posed by equipment and the health risks associated with working at a construction site.
5. The Davis-Bacon Act
Requires payment of prevailing wages on federally funded or assisted construction projects. This act establishes the requirement to pay workers the local prevailing wages on public works projects and applies to both contractors and sub-contractors working on construction projects more than $2000.
6. Child Labor Law
Federal child labor provisions are authorized under the umbrella of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), also known as the child labor laws. There are restrictions; though 14 and 15-year-olds are allowed to perform office and sales tasks for a construction company, these minors are not to be employed on the construction site; more details about child labor restrictions are mentioned here.
7. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
This act especially applies to the construction business since it was common for many immigrants to join the construction workforce. The IRCA prohibits employers from knowingly hiring, recruiting, or referring anyone who is unauthorized to work in the United States.
8. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
This act allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.
Construction Worker Rights
- If an employee believes their employer violates OSHA regulations, they may request an OSHA inspection of the workplace to check for standards violations and hazardous conditions
- If a signed written complaint is raised, the employee’s name can be withheld from the employer
- Employees have the right to protection against discrimination and retaliation for filing an OSHA complaint
- Employees can request access to the results of workplace hazard testing
- Employees can request to review records related to any workplace injuries, illnesses, medical and exposure records
- Employees have the right to view an employer’s requirements, rules, standards, and regulations at the workplace
Obligations of a Construction Employer
- Employers need to provide safe tools and equipment and ensure that the employees safely use this equipment
- Provide a safe and hazard-free work environment for all employees
- Ensure all employees are provided with training in the language they are familiar with
- Employees must develop a communication policy on hazardous material, container labeling, employee training, and material safety
- Ensure that the employees are aware and informed about the safety rights and standards applicable in their workplace
In the construction business, it is essential to be aware of labor laws and ensure that your employees are treated fairly and receive adequate payment for their work. The construction business is anticipating exponential growth in the next few years; global statistics show that industry growth will almost double in the next ten years. To ensure this growth continues to follow an upward trajectory, owners of construction companies must comply with regulatory bodies to create a safe workplace for their employees. Compliance with these rules is essential not only for the safety of their employees but also to avoid any potential penalties or legal action.
In this article, we covered various laws and acts, like the OSHA Hazard Communication Standards, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, etc. Keep in mind that there are a few rules and regulations connected to labor laws, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to these regulations. You must understand your obligation as an employer and how implementing these laws will help your employees and positively impact your business growth.