Just When You Thought the Trump DOL Was Relaxing Enforcement
Posted on 10/26/2018 at 12:21 PM by Mike Staebell
Under the current administration, a number of DOL regulations have gone by the wayside by way of the Congressional Review Act, presidential Executive Orders, and court rulings. These developments may cause one to conclude that Trump’s DOL is not focused on enforcement of the current rules. An October 9 press release from DOL’s Wage and Hour Administration (WHD) certainly contradicts that conclusion.
An October 9, 2018 WHD press release announced that in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2018, WHD set an all-time record for back wage recovery - $304 million was restored to workers whose employers had been investigated by the agency.
In addition, WHD announced it also set a record in fiscal 2018 for number of educational compliance assistance events designed to help employers understand their legal responsibilities. 3643 such events were conducted.
Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta had this to say about WHD’s record-setting year:
“Through vigorous enforcement and compliance assistance, the Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that workers receive the wages they have earned. These record-breaking numbers confirm the Department’s strong commitment to enforcing the law and providing employers with the tools they need to comply with the law.”
The press release also announced the WHD’s voluntary Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program pilot has been extended for six months. PAID allows employers who find that they may not be in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act to perform self-audits under WHD supervision to correct the problems, pay the back wages, and avoid significant penalties and liquidated damages. See Wage and Hour Watch’s detailed explanation of the PAID program here.
What is the takeaway from this announcement? Even though the current administration has taken down much of the Obama DOL’s enforcement efforts, and is touting its own employer education programs, it is still focused on investigating employers and enforcing its current rules. This is not a time for employers to relax their diligence on compliance with Wage and Hour provisions.
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