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DOL, Sec. of Labor Happy with President’s 2015 Budget; Funding for Misclassification Prevention Highlighted

Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, praised the 2015 budget

Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, praised the 2015 budget

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The newly released 2015 fiscal year budget will include increased funding to continue President Obama’s efforts to reign in misclassification.  One highlight of the budget, as it pertains to the Department of Labor, is funding aimed at “increasing support for agencies that protect workers’ wages and overtime pay, benefits, health and safety, and investing in preventing and detecting the misclassification of employees as independent contractors.”  

From President Obama’s 2015 fiscal year budget:

“When employees are misclassified as independent contractors, they are deprived of the benefits and protections to which they are legally entitled, such as minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and anti-discrimination protections. Misclassification also unfairly disadvantages businesses who comply with the law and costs taxpayers money in lost funds for the United States Treasury, and in Social Security, Medicare, the Unemployment Trust Fund, and State programs. The Budget includes nearly $14 million to combat misclassification, including $10 million for grants to States to identify misclassification and recover unpaid taxes and $4 million for personnel at WHD to investigate misclassification.”

Along with increasing misclassification prevention, DOL’s budget includes funding for the creation of New Careers Pathways which would combine the best features of the current Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers program and the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Workers program.  The move would streamline the two programs into one more effective program that offers services to displaced workers.  

Other facets DOL has flagged as worker-supportive include:

An increase of more than $41 million for the Wage and Hour Division to ensure workers receive appropriate wages and overtime pay, as well the right to take job-protected leave for family and medical leave purposes.
• Nearly $14 million to combat the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, which deprives them of benefits and protections to which they are legally entitled and disadvantages employers who comply with the law.
• $5 million for the creation of a State Paid Leave Fund to assist workers who need to take time off to care for a child or other family member, with another $100 million proposed as part of the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative.
• Substantial investments in worker safety, including $565 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to foster employer compliance with safety and health regulations and inspect hazardous workplaces, and strengthen its protection of whistleblowers against retaliation for reporting unsafe and unscrupulous practices. The budget also includes $377 million for the Mine Safety and Health Administration to help protect workers in one of our nation’s most dangerous industries.
• $107 million for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which enforces equal employment opportunity at federal contractors. The budget includes $1.1 million to strengthen efforts to eliminate pay discrimination affecting women who earn significantly less than their male counterparts for comparable work and to secure equal treatment for all workers.

In a press release, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez praised the budget:
“In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that we are all united as Americans by the belief we share in ‘opportunity for all,’ the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can make it in America. This budget request works to ensure that Americans have the skills they need for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow, and also protects the health, safety and retirement savings of workers,”


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