Own a Small Business? We’re Here to Help

Two coffeeshop workers smiling and leaning on the counter.

The U.S. Department of Labor is proud to support the Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week. This year’s theme, Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship, acknowledges small businesses from across the country for their resilience, ingenuity and creativity through challenging times.

The department seeks to empower all workers, whether as employees or as entrepreneurs. We help connect small businesses to apprenticeship and skills training programs, workplace safety and health resources, wage and hour guidance, health care and retirement planning, employment resources for people with disabilities—and much more.

We know that running a small business is rewarding, but it’s not easy – and we want to make it easier for you to stay up to speed on the rules of the road in the workplace. We want to give small-business owners the answers you need to questions about a wide range of topics from labor standards to what posters you need to display in your workplaces!

In recognition of National Small Business Week, we’ve compiled some of our most helpful resources for ensuring your small business is a great place to work and that it is staying on track with the law.

Common questions: Find answers to some of the most common questions we get about running a small business on Employer.gov’s Small Business Page. And stay tuned: We’re working with the SBA to make www.Employer.gov an even more helpful resource for you.

Apprenticeships and skills training programs: Registered Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce while also increasing employee retention, and thousands of employers are using apprenticeships to close the skills gap and meet critical occupational needs. Interested in starting an apprenticeship program? Visit our Office of Apprenticeship’s Employer page to learn how to get started today

Workplace safety and health resources: Our Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers compliance assistance resources specifically for small businesses, including our On-Site Consultation Program, which provides free, confidential safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses across the country. The self-inspection checklists in OSHA’s small business handbook will help you identify and address safety and health hazards in your workplace. 

Wage and Hour guidance: If you’ve got questions about employee wages, child labor, family and medical leave, or record keeping, the Wage and Hour Small Business Portal can help – including links to plain-language explanatory videos and compliance assistance toolkits.

Health care and retirement planning: Do you offer health, retirement, or other employee benefits or are you interested in offering them to help you and your employees? Find resources to help you select a plan, understand your responsibilities in operating a plan and find a benefits adviser who can answer your questions on the Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Small Business Page.

Unemployment insurance: The department, in partnership with the SBA, created the Self-Employment Assistance Center to provide information, resources and tools to help build state entrepreneurial programs for individuals eligible for unemployment insurance compensation. You can find more information on the Self-Employment Assistance webpage.

Federal Contract Compliance: If you conduct business with the federal government, you know contractors are held to a high standard for equal employment opportunity. You can use the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ Small Federal Contractor Technical Assistance Guide as a valuable self-assessment tool to review the practices you have in place to eliminate discrimination and achieve your equal employment opportunity goals.  And remember, if you are a federal contractor, you are required to post a notice to inform your workers of their organizing and bargaining rights under labor law.

Self-Employment for people with disabilities: If you are a person with a disability interested in starting your own business or an entrepreneur with a disability, the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Job Accommodation Network can assist you with small business-development, including referrals regarding business planning, financing strategies, marketing research, disability-specific programs, income supports and benefits planning, e-commerce, independent contracting, home-based business options and small-business initiatives for disabled veterans.

We hope you will visit the Department of Labor’s booth at the SBA’s National Small Business Week 4-Day Virtual Summit, which takes place May 2-5, 2022. We look forward to assisting you as your business grows, and we are always here to help.

Douglas Parker is the assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Ali Khawar is the acting assistant secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Rajesh D. Nayak is the assistant secretary for policy.