A new website, Worker.gov, seeks to make it easier to protect your rights.
10/28/2016 -- As the secretary of labor, Tom Perez spends a lot of his time explaining workers’ rights. Yet when he talks one-on-one with workers of all kinds, he’s noticed that many of them still aren’t aware of the legal protections they have.
Whether it’s the right to overtime pay when they toil more than 40 hours in a week or the right to take unpaid time off after having a child, “they don’t know what they don’t know,” as Perez put it to The Huffington Post.
The White House is hoping to change that. On Friday, the Obama administration unveiled a new government website, worker.gov, that’s meant to help people understand their rights under the hodgepodge of U.S. workplace laws that are enforced by a range of agencies.
Unlike the typical federal website ― which tries, and often fails, to put complicated statutes into plain English (and Spanish) ― the new site begins with the worker. If you visit the site, you’ll be asked to identify your job and perhaps your problem on the job. The site will then tell you how different laws apply to your situation and how regulators might be able to help if a law is being broken.
In other words, you won’t have to know that a certain law exists to learn about its protections.
“If you’re a low-wage worker, you shouldn’t have to know what the Fair Labor Standards Act is,” said Perez, referring to the law that guarantees a minimum wage. “You should be able to go to one stop, type in what you do for a living, and it’ll give you a primer on what your rights are and where you can file a complaint.”