Increased Budget for DOL in 2015

Earlier this week, the White House released the Administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015, which begins on October 1, 2014. Of particular interest to employers, the budget calls for an additional $11.8 billion for the Department of Labor (DOL), including an increase of $41 million in funding for the Wage & Hour Division (WHD).

The WHD is the group tasked with enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and various other laws.

This money, which represents an 18% increase in the budget for the WHD, would be used to hire 300 additional inspectors. It would also allow the Division to upgrade their technology.

According to the budget, particular areas of focus for the WHD going forward will include:

  • Scrutiny of businesses that typically use subcontractors or leased employees, such as hospitality and food service companies, cleaning and maid services and construction businesses.
  • Closer examination of the labor practices of franchise holders.
  • A continued focus on low-wage workers and industries, including low-wage “managers” (for instance, to ensure their exempt classification is proper).

In other words, pretty much the same things they’ve been focusing on for the past few years… only more so.

Of course, what the Administration proposes may not be what Congress passes, so at the moment this is all speculative. But I think whether they get the additional funds or not, at least the budget gives us an idea of what areas the WHD will be targeting in the coming year.

Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed.

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