Obama Administration Requests Additional Monies for DOL Enforcement Personnel
In testimony before the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees earlier this week, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis defended the Obama Administration’s increased budget request of $104.5 billion for the Labor Department. Secretary Solis explained that some of this increase is needed to hire nearly 500 additional full-time enforcement personnel in the area of worker safety and wage and hour issues.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis
testimony sends a clear message to employers that workplace enforcement will be a top priority for DOL during an Obama Administration. Additionally, the below statements by some key Democrats on the respective subcommittees show that legislators support Secretary Solis’s effort to strength enforcement of specific U.S. labor laws.
The Labor Secretary’s
“Enforcement staff levels are down by one-third at the Wage and Hour Division and below the fiscal year 2001 level at OSHA.” – Subcommittee Chair Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA).
“Your budget makes it clear that your department is in competent hands.” – Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), commenting about her belief that there had been too much reliance on voluntary compliance by employers in the past.
“A restored and focused Labor Department [can help workers] find training for careers in new, growing industries, keep them safe and healthy in the workplace, and guard against unfair labor practices.” – Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety.
Now is an opportune time for HR professionals to do some self-evaluation of whether or not their organizations are well-equipped to sustain a Department of Labor investigation.
If you have questions about the multitude of workplace wage and hour, safety, and discrimination and employee verification laws and regulations currently in effect, don’t hesitate to contact SHRM’s Knowledge Center today or tap the numerous compliance webinars currently available in SHRM’s vast multi-media library at www.shrm.org.