Table of Contents

United States

Table of Contents


US Dollar (USD)

Payroll Frequency

Bi-Weekly or Monthly

Employer Taxes


About United States

The United States is an economic, technological, and military powerhouse bordering just two countries, Mexico and Canada. The US comprises of 50 states, with Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia) as its capital. The country has a wide variety of natural minerals, including the largest reserves of coal in the world. Its agricultural land amounts to almost 45 percent of the total landmass, and forests comprise 33 percent. Various natural disasters have been known to affect different areas of the country. The United States has an estimated population of over 326 million people with a breakdown as follows: 72.4% white, 12.6% black, 4.8% Asian, and the rest classified as ‘other’ or various ethnic groups including native Americans. As of 2018, urban areas contained 82.3 percent of the country’s total population. The U.S. has a constitutional federal republic type of government. It has the largest economy in the world, with a GDP growth of 1.5 percent and a GDP per capita of $57,500 at the most recent tally.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

Probationary Period

In the United States, there are no national or state laws governing probationary periods. However, many employers have policies regarding trial periods, otherwise known as “introductory periods” or “probationary periods.” Such policies are devised based on the needs of the employer. They generally provide for a formal performance evaluation after an initial employment period (often 90 days).

Working Hours

According to the U.S. Wage and Hour Division (WDH), hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer's premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace. The law of the United States indicates that the standard workweek is 40 hours. Generally, employees working more than 40 hours per week are eligible for overtime. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains the federal overtime provisions. There is no limit in the Act on the number of hours employees aged 16 and older may work in any workweek. The Internal Revenue Service defines a "full-time employee" as an employee working an average of at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month in a given calendar month.

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

All 11 Federal Holidays are observed in all 50 states: New Year’s Day (January 1st), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January), Presidents Day (3rd Monday in February. Not all states), Memorial Day (Last Monday in May), Independence Day (July 4th), Labor Day (1st Monday in September), Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October), Veterans Day (November 10th), Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November), Day after Thanksgiving (Day after 4th Thursday in November), Christmas Day (December 25th)

• Paid Annual Leave

In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave, or federal or other holidays. Vacation leave benefits are matters of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative). Employers decide how much vacation to offer and to which employees. The United States is the only developed nation that does not require employers to provide paid leave. In contrast, almost every other developed nation has established legal rights to paid public holidays over and above paid leave. United States law offers no statutory paid leave except that provided to government contractors and subcontractors covered under the Davis-Bacon Act. The gap between the paid time off provided in the U.S. and the rest of the world is even more significant if legally mandated paid public holidays are included (the United States offers none). Still, most of the world's other developed nations offer between five and 13 paid public holidays per year. In the United States, employers are also free to adopt schedules for vacation accrual and to cap the vacation time employees can accrue (many organizations take advantage of this right to encourage employees to use their vacation time regularly). For instance, company policy may provide that an employee earns a certain number of vacation days each month or a certain number of hours each pay period. Certain companies impose a waiting period before new employees may begin accruing vacation time.

• Sick Leave

In the United States, there are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does require unpaid sick leave, and organizations subject to the FMLA must provide it. The FMLA provides either the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical situations. In many cases, paid leave may be substituted for unpaid FMLA leave. Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they meet the following conditions:  They have worked for their employer for at least 12 months. They have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. The location at which they work is one where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. As the momentum for a federal paid sick leave requirement is growing, some states and municipalities have started to require employers to provide paid sick leave to certain qualified individuals. The size of the employers subject to paid sick leave mandates and the amount of paid sick leave granted to employees varies by jurisdiction.

• Maternity Leave

The federal law of the United States is unique in its lack of provision of cash benefits for women during maternity leave. In the absence of federal legislation on paid maternity leave, several states have enacted to provide new parents pay. The following states and territories have implemented or are in the process of implementing a family leave insurance program: California Connecticut Washington, D.C. Hawaii Maine Massachusetts Minnesota New Jersey New York Oregon Rhode Island Vermont Washington state Wisconsin The benefit formula and eligibility criteria vary in each state. U.S. workers also generally have the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA only applies to employees who have worked at least 12 months at a company with at least 50 employees. All states and territories fall under the federal FMLA.

• Paternity Leave

In the United States, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave. An employee's entitlement to FMLA leave for birth and bonding expires 12 months after the date of birth. A few states also have laws requiring paid paternity leave.  Four states — California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington state — currently require paid family leave extending to fathers in some form. FMLA leave may be taken before the actual placement or adoption of a child if an absence from work related to the placement for adoption or foster care is required. When FMLA leave is taken after the child's placement to ensure bonding, it must be taken as a continuous leave unless the employer agrees to intermittent leave. Entitlement to FMLA leave for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care expires 12 months after the placement.

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

The law of the United States does not expressly address notification procedures for the dismissal of a worker whose employment is governed by a contract. Generally, workers in the United States do not have contracts and are employed at-will. However, if an employment contract does exist, the parties can bargain for terms in a contract to govern notification procedures. Some exceptions to the lack of regulation of employer notice periods do exist, however. In 1988, the U.S. Congress passed the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. The WARN Act ensures workers have sufficient time to prepare for a transition from their current job to a new job by requiring advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs. Generally, a WARN Act notice requirement exists when a business with 100 or more full-time workers (excluding workers with less than six months on the job and those who work less than 20 hours per week) is in the process of laying off at least 50 people at a single employment site.

• Severance Benefits

In the United States, there is no requirement in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for severance pay. Nevertheless, it is common for employers to provide this type of compensation (unless the employee was fired for misconduct). Severance pay is a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative).  It is usually based on the length of employment upon termination. The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) may assist an employee who did not receive severance benefits under their employer-sponsored plan. Some states require immediate payment of terminal wages as well as reimbursement for accrued or unused vacation days.