This week, the Department of Labor is hosting a series of live chats through its website. The goal is to outline and discuss the DOL’s regulatory agenda for 2010 [PDF]. Transcripts are available at http://www.dol.gov/regulations/index.htm#chats.
On Monday, Secretary of Labor Solis participated in her own chat. Her highlights:
- One of her priorities is ensuring that low income and minorities receive help from the DOL.
- New FLSA regulations on record keeping will be published in August 2010.
- WHD now has a Director of Training with a staff that has done a comprehensive review of the Wage and Hour training programs and materials. Specifically, they have developed a 12-week written course for WHD’s 250 new investigators.
- Secretary Solis and President Obama support the Employee Free Choice Act; the ball is in Congress’s court.
Yesterday, Wage and Hour Division Deputy Administrator Nancy Leppink conducted its chat. Here are the highlights:
- WHD’s regulatory agenda for 2010 includes proposed rules for child labor, non-displacement of qualified workers under service contracts, FMLA, records to be kept under the FLSA, and other amendments to the FLSA.
- WHD plans to provide additional guidance to employers on how to comply with the recent military leave amendments to the FMLA.
- WHD intends to publish a final rule under the FLSA that will clean up many of the out-dated regulations.
- Wage and Hour recently hired 250 new investigators to boost the division’s ability to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws. As the new staff are trained, the division will target industries in which vulnerable workers are employed and will work to respond to complaints in a timely manner.
- Industries that employ vulnerable workers include agriculture, restaurants, janitorial, construction, and car washes, among others.
- WHD is working on a new Public Service campaign, “We Can Help,” to inform workers of their rights under wage and hour laws, to be rolled out in early 2010.
All in all, the chats were not all that revealing, but did reinforce that the next three years are going to be different for employers. Secretary Solis has an ambitious agenda to help low income employees, whom she perceives as “at risk.” Continue to follow this space in the coming year for updates on any new DOL regulations as they are released.