Employers beware! DOL asking for bigger enforcement budget

The Department of Labor is gearing up to enforce labor laws. Proof: The agency just asked for an additional $67 million in funding.
The funds were part of the budget it released earlier this month for fiscal year 2011.
Some noteworthy items in the DOL’s proposal:

  • Part of the funds allocated for worker protection programs would allow the agency to hire 350 employees – 177 of which would be investigators and other enforcement staff.
  • The Wage and Hour Division would receive $244 million in funding (up $20 million) and hire 90 new investigators and enforcement staff.
  • The DOL also indicated it’ll crack down on employers that define workers as independent contractors.
  • As part of a joint venture with the Department of the Treasury, the DOL budget includes $25 million to target employee misclassification and hire 100 additional enforcement personnel.
  • The DOL has plans for a $50 million initiative to promote paid-leave experiments on the state level.

The budget request has ruffled the feathers of one congressman, John Kline (R-MN). He said the DOL’s plans would create an emphasis on punishment rather than compliance.
In addition, he claims the proposed budget will spark efforts designed to “demonize employers.”
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