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Labor Department offers compliance assistance for employers: the U. S. Department of Labor is taking steps to ease the path to compliance for small businesses.



Tools to Help Franchises as they Succeed and Grow

As franchise systems and their units succeed and grow, they ,'nay face increased legal responsibilities, especially relative to hiring and managing employees. But as many franchisors and franchisees well know, employment laws are complex, and navigating (networking, hypertext) navigating - Finding your way around. Often used of the Internet, particularly the World-Wide Web.

A browser is a tool for navigating hypertext documents.
 their requirements can be challenging.

With responsibility for more than 180 of these laws, the U.S. Department of Labor is taking steps to ease the road to compliance for small-business owners. Under the leadership of Secretary Elaine L. Chao, DOL DOL - Display Oriented Language. Subsystem of DOCUS. Sammet 1969, p.678.  has committed to significantly enhance its compliance assistance efforts. The goal of these efforts is to protect the wages, health benefits, retirement security, safety and health of America's workforce by preventing employment law violations.

Of course, increased compliance assistance does not replace or in any way detract from detract from
verb 1. lessen, reduce, diminish, lower, take away from, derogate, devaluate << OPPOSITE enhance

verb 2.
 strong enforcement. Rather, it complements enforcement by allowing DOL to focus its enforcement resources on the relatively small number of business owners who deliberately ignore their responsibilities and endanger en·dan·ger  
tr.v. en·dan·gered, en·dan·ger·ing, en·dan·gers
1. To expose to harm or danger; imperil.

2. To threaten with extinction.
 worker safety and health, jeopardize jeop·ard·ize  
tr.v. jeop·ard·ized, jeop·ard·iz·ing, jeop·ard·izes
To expose to loss or injury; imperil. See Synonyms at endanger.
 pension security, fail to pay the minimum wage or overtime, or engage in other unfair and illegal workplace practices.

Benefits to Franchising

DOL's increased compliance assistance efforts benefit the franchising community on two levels. On the individual level, new DOL-wide compliance assistance tools help make DOL's laws easier to understand for the small-business owner who does not have the benefit of a dedicated human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees.  or in-house legal advisor. More broadly, in systems in which franchisors provide franchisees assistance with personnel issues, DOL's efforts serve to reinforce the value of this service and help franchisors provide it more effectively. This, in turn, helps DOL fulfill ful·fill also ful·fil  
tr.v. ful·filled, ful·fill·ing, ful·fills also ful·fils
1. To bring into actuality; effect: fulfilled their promises.

2.
 its goals. DOL simply does not have the resources to reach each and every regulated business, while franchisors have the power to communicate employment law requirements to an estimated 760,000 franchised small businesses across the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. .

To assist the regulated community, Secretary Chao created an Office of Compliance Assistance Policy, which is charged with raising awareness Raising awareness is a common phrase advocacy groups use to justify a particular event, brochure or even the entire organization. Raising awareness refers to alerting the general public that a certain issue exists and should be approached the way the group desires.  of DOL's laws and regulations and where businesses can go for help with them. Through the development of DOL-wide tools and resources, this office also helps employers who do not understand how the agency is structured get answers to questions. One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is simply figuring out where they need to go for help on a particular issue, or, in some cases, if DOL is even the appropriate place to go.

The following tools can help franchises ensure they are in compliance with DOL laws:

* elaws Advisors

* www.dol.gov/elaws

The elaws Advisors (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) are online tools that help individuals understand DOL's major statues This is a list of the most famous statues worldwide, past and present. Australia
  • Dog on the Tuckerbox, five miles from Gundagai
Belgium
  • Manneken Pis in Brussels
  • Butte du Lion ("Hillock of the Lion", "Lion's Mound") in Waterloo
, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act Fair Labor Standards Act or Wages and Hours Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1938 to establish minimum living standards for workers engaged directly or indirectly in interstate commerce, including those involved in production of goods bound , which sets the federal minimum wage and has rules on child labor child labor, use of the young as workers in factories, farms, and mines. Child labor was first recognized as a social problem with the introduction of the factory system in late 18th-century Great Britain. , overtime, what activities constitute hours worked. Each elaws Advisor mimics the interaction an individual would have with a DOL employment law expert by asking questions and providing answers based on his or her responses. For example, today many employers need to know the reemployment rights for National Guard members and reservists returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan under DOL's Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)[1] was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 13, 1994 to protect the civilian employment of non-full time military service members called to active duty. . By using the elaws USERRA USERRA Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994  Advisor, they can get answers to questions such as "What are my obligations as an employer" and "How does USERRA affect the benefits I provide to my employees?"

Often, before it can benefit from compliance assistance materials for particular laws, a small business first needs help determining which DOL laws apply to them. A new elaws Advisor, the FirstStep Employment Law Advisor, does just that. It simply and quickly identifies which of DOL's major employment laws apply to a business and then provides information about how to comply with each law's requirements.

Toll-Free Information Service 1-866-4-USA-DOL

DOL's Toll-Free Information Service provides a central access point to DOL for information on a range of employment rules and issues. By caIling 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365; TTY (TeleTYpewriter) See teletypewriter and TDD/TTY.

(hardware) tty - /tit'ee/ (ITS pronunciation, but some Unix people say it this way as well; this pronunciation is not considered to have sexual undertones), /T T Y/

1. teletypewriter.

2.
: 1-877-889-5627), individuals can find answers to questions about job loss, business closures, pay and leave, workplace safety and health, and pension and health benefits. This service will also quickly refer callers if their issue does not fall under DOL's jurisdiction. Because laws affecting employment are handled by many government agencies, it is not uncommon (nor unreasonable) that people often contact DOL with questions that actually belong to other agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or Internal Revenue Service.

Department of Labor Web Site www.dol.gov

DOL's Web site provides access to a wide range of employment and regulatory information around the clock. It also offers the opportunity to ask questions about employment and regulatory issues via e-mail. Access to DOL agencies' compliance assistance information is available through DOL's Office of Compliance Assistance Policy Web site, www.dol.gov/compliance. From here users can get to different DOL agencies' resources, such as the YouthRules! Web site, www.youthrules.dol.gov. This site centralizes information about rules governing gov·ern  
v. gov·erned, gov·ern·ing, gov·erns

v.tr.
1. To make and administer the public policy and affairs of; exercise sovereign authority in.

2.
 the employment of young workers, who constitute a significant percentage of workers in many of the industries in which franchises thrive.

Employment Law Guide

The Employment Law' Guide, which describes DOL's major statutes and regulations, is an invaluable resource lot new business owners who are not familiar with DOL's laws. Written in plain language, this free publication provides background information on DOL's major laws, outlining who is covered; the basic provisions of each law; the penalties for not complying; specific compliance assistance resources available for that law; and how the law relates to state and local laws. The publication is available online at www.dol.gov/compliance and in print (in both English and Spanish) by calling 1-866-4-USA-DOL.

By working together to achieve compliance with employment laws, franchisors and franchisees can help DOL and play an important role in ensuring safety, security and lair wages for a significant segment of the nation's workforce, while at the same time protecting their business investments and assets.

Barbara Bingham is director of the Office of Compliance Assistance Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor.
COPYRIGHT 2004 International Franchise Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Management & Operations
Author:Bingham, Barbara
Publication:Franchising World
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2004
Words:1012
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