A look at the U.S. Department of Labor’s budget for FY 2010 shows where the agency will be stepping up investigations of workplace violations and enforcement of labor laws.
The agency has proposed $1.7 billion for what it calls “worker protection” programs. That’s a 10% increase over the dollars designated for those programs in FY 2009, and the highest it’s been since FY 2001.
A big chunk of the money is earmarked for unemployment benefits and workers comp, but here’s where a lot of the rest is going:
- The Wage and Hour Division will receive $228 million, an increase of $35 million from the prior year, including funding to hire 200 new investigators. That signals greater focus on compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act — meaning more investigations to ensure employees are properly classified as exempt and nonexempt for overtime purposes. Division investigators will also be looking at compliance with minimum-wage laws.
- $564 million will go to the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That’s $51 million more than in FY 2009. Some of the money will go to hire 160 new OSHA enforcement staff, many of whom will be bilingual to communicate with immigrant workers when investigations are held.