Labor and employment issues are covered by a combination of state and federal laws and are important to workers, businesses and families.
NCSL’s resources on labor and employment issues are arranged around nine topic clusters: Discrimination, Employee Leave, Federal Issues, Pensions, Personnel Issues, Unemployment, Wage & Hour, Workforce, and Working Families. Resources related to jobs creation and economic development are available on NCSL’s website under the topic Economic Development, Gambling and Trade.
Below are brief descriptions of each of the Labor and Employment topic clusters:
Discrimination in the workplace based on race, gender and religion is prohibited under federal law. Most states have also adopted laws prohibiting employment related discrimination. Discrimination may also be prohibited against whistleblowers under state and federal laws, and well as pay disparities based on race or gender. Resources in this area include State Employment Discrimination Laws, Off-Duty Conduct Discrimination, State Whistleblower Laws and State Equal Pay Requirements.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants leave without pay to workers for the birth or adoption of a child, a family member’s serious illness or for a worker’s own illness. A small number of states have adopted their own family leave laws and three provide for a limited time of paid leave. Neither federal nor state laws require paid sick leave or vacation leave, although some states provide for special types of leave. Resources in this area include statutes and bills on Family Leave, Sick Leave, Vacation Leave, Donor Leave, and Disaster Leave.
Some issues, such as housing policy and trade, are largely governed under federal law, although states have an interest in such issues and often may need to coordinate their laws with federal provisions. This cluster includes information on housing and trade, as well as materials related to NCSL policy positions and lobbying efforts on behalf of the states.
Regulation of pensions and retiree benefits is an exceedingly complicated issue, governed under both state and federal laws. Resources in this area includes statutes and bills that address Pensions, Investments, Divestments and Retiree Benefits.
Human resources are governed by a complex series of state and federal laws. Resources in this cluster include summaries, laws, bills and reports related to At-Will Employment, Telecommuting and Flexible Work Schedules, Non-Competition Agreements, Workplace Drug Testing, Collective Bargaining, and Workers Compensation.
With the current economic downturn, unemployment has been rising dramatically and states are working hard to insure the availability of unemployment insurance benefits. A wide variety of up-to-date information is available in this cluster, including laws and bills related to Benefits, Eligibility, Financing, Trust Fund Balances and Loans, Unemployment Legislation, and Federal and State WARN Acts.
Wage & Hour
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act covers many wage and hour issues, such as minimum wages, work hours and overtime and many other federal laws address labor requirements. States also address many of the same issues or work in concert with federal laws to regulate labor and employment. Resources in this cluster include State and Federal Minimum Wages, Living Wage, Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage, Work Hours, Overtime and Child Labor laws.
Training for workers is handled through a network of state and federal agencies and funding streams. Resources in this cluster include Workforce Development, the federal Workforce Investment Act, and Career-Technical Education.
Many American families struggle against financial insecurity and a lack of opportunity. Since 2002, The National Conference of State Legislatures / Annie E. Casey Foundation Partnership on Family Economic Success has assisted legislators who want to create more opportunities for working families to succeed. Resources in this cluster include Asset Building and Family Economic Success, and are interrelated to other NCSL resources on Employment, Human Services, Education and Economic Development.
For more information
Labor and Employment: Jeanne Mejeur, Jon Jukuri
Economic Development and Job Creation: Luke Martel, Todd Haggerty, Mandy Rafool
Workforce Development: Jack Tweedie, Rochelle Finzel
Career and Technical Education: Sunny Deye, Michelle Liu
Working Families: Mary Fairchild, Qiana Flores
Pensions: Luke Martel, Tamara Rivale