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About United States

Capital City

Washington, D.C.

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of the United States is 339.9 million.

Currency

The currency in the United States is the United States Dollar (USD). The currency symbol is $.

Exchange Rate Calculator

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Overview

The United States of America, commonly known as the United States or the USA, is a large and diverse country located in North America. As a global superpower, the United States holds significant influence in various spheres, including politics, economics, culture, and technology. With its capital in Washington, D.C., and its largest city being New York City, the United States covers a vast land area of approximately 3.8 million square miles, making it the third-largest country by land area. The United States has a federal presidential constitutional republic, where power is divided between the federal government and individual states. With a population of over 331 million people, the country is known for its cultural diversity, as people from all around the world have migrated to the United States, contributing to its rich multicultural makeup. The United States has been a global leader in technological innovation and scientific research for over a century. It has a history of large-scale manufacturing and has been pivotal in the development of industries such as automotive, aviation, information technology, and biotechnology. As a melting pot of cultures and a symbol of freedom and opportunity, the United States continues to influence the world through its economic power, military strength, and cultural exports.

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.

Social Security

Pension

In the United States, there are two types of mandatory social security plans for employees: the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program. The full benefit retirement age is currently 66 years and two months (gradually rising to age 67 by 2027). Employees require at least 40 quarters of coverage to be eligible for retirement. Individuals may avail themselves of early retirement at the age of 62, with at least 40 quarters of coverage. They may also delay retirement until 70 years of age.  The retirement pension amount is based on the average of the insured's 35 best years of earnings. The maximum benefit in 2023 is USD 4,555 (American dollars) per month. The pension is reduced by 5/9 of 1% for each month before normal retirement age, up to 36 months. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced by 5/12 of 1% percent per month. Delayed pension is increased by 3-8% per year, depending on the year of birth. 50% of the monthly pension is paid for a spouse who has reached retirement age and has a lower pension income than the employee. Dependent children under 18 years also qualify for 50% of the monthly pension as benefits. Supplemental Security Income is a social assistance payment paid by the government to aged people with no or little income. The monthly benefit in 2023 is USD 914 for an individual and USD 1,371 for a couple. There are other voluntary contribution plans for employees that provide retirement benefits in addition to social security benefits. The contributions to social security are as follows (the maximum income for OASDI contributions in 2024 is USD 168,600: Both employees and employers contribute 6.2% to OASDI Both employees and employers contribute 1.45% to Medicare  

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

In the United States, Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) pays survivors benefits to family members of a deceased insured member who was younger than 62 years and had at least six quarters of coverage. Eligible survivors include spouses, children, and parents of the deceased.  The survivors benefit amount would be based on the earnings of the deceased person. The benefits are paid as a percentage of the disability pension that the deceased person received or was entitled to receive. The maximum combined survivor pension is 180% of the old-age pension (or 150% of the disability pension) the deceased received or was entitled to receive. In case of an employee's death caused by a work-related accident or occupational disease, 35% to 70% of the deceased's earnings are paid to the widow(er) and 60% to 80% to a widow(er) with dependent children.

Invalidity Benefit

In the United States, disability benefits are paid under two programs. First, the Social Security disability insurance program under the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) pays pensions to employees who fulfill the requirement for insurance coverage based on their age. Also, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides benefits to disabled adults and children with limited income and resources. The pension is based on the insured's average covered earnings (adjusted based on increases in the national average wage) from age 21 up to the quarter the disability began, excluding up to five years of the lowest earnings. Additional benefits are paid for dependent spouses and children. In case of a disability due to a work accident or an occupational disease, employers are responsible for paying disability benefits to their employees based on the degree and type of disability.

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

For tax year 2024, the top tax rate remains 37% for individual single taxpayers with incomes greater than $609,350 ($731,200 for married couples filing jointly). The other rates are: 35% for incomes over $243,725 ($487,450 for married couples filing jointly) 32% for incomes over $191,950 ($383,900 for married couples filing jointly) 24% for incomes over $100,525 ($201,050 for married couples filing jointly) 22% for incomes over $47,150 ($94,300 for married couples filing jointly) 12% for incomes over $11,600 ($23,200 for married couples filing jointly) The lowest rate is 10% for incomes of single individuals with incomes of $11,600 or less ($23,200 for married couples filing jointly).

Immigration

Types of Visas

A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship. Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet visa-free travel requirements. There are more than 20 nonimmigrant visa types for people traveling to the United States temporarily. There are many more types of immigrant visas for those coming to live permanently in the United States. The type of visa needed is determined by the purpose of travel. The United States issues the following visas: Temporary Visas B-1/B-2 Tourist/Visitor Visas E-1/E-2 Treaty and Investor Visas F-1 and M-1 Student Visas H-1B Specialty Occupation (Professionals) Visas J-1 and Q-1 Exchange Visitor Visas K-1 Fiance(e) Visas L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visas O-1 Extraordinary Ability Worker Visas P-1 Artists and Athletes Visas R-1 Religious Worker Visas TC and TN NAFTA and US-Canada Free Trade Agreement Visas Permanent Residency (Green Cards) Family-Sponsored Immigration Visas Employer-Sponsored Immigrant Visas: EB-1 Foreign Nationals of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors/Researchers, and Multinational Executives/Managers EB-2 Workers with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability in the Arts, Sciences, or Business EB-3 Skilled Workers and Professionals EB-4 Special Immigrant Visas for Religious Workers EB-5 Investor/Employment Creation Visas DV-1 Visas (the “Green Card Lottery”) Other Categories Refugee and Asylum Applications Temporary Protected Status

Work Permit

Many foreign nationals want to come to the United States to work. Foreign nationals can obtain a work permit as an immigrant or as a nonimmigrant. A common way to work temporarily in the United States as a nonimmigrant is for a prospective employer to file a petition with USCIS on the foreign national's behalf. There are several nonimmigrant, temporary worker classifications. Foreign nationals with the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience may be able to live and work permanently in the United States by seeking an employment-based immigrant visa. There are five employment-based immigrant visa preferences (also called categories). Foreign nationals must apply for a visa from the U.S. Department of State (DOS) unless a visa is not required for people from their country of nationality. In many cases, USCIS must approve the foreign national's petition before they can apply to DOS for a visa or seek admission at a port of entry. Before entering the United States, the foreign national must present themselves to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer and receive permission to enter the United States and engage in their proposed activity.

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