Prioritizing prevention and compliance at Wage and Hour Division.

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  • Prevention, compliance, and enforcement are the key strategies of the Wage and Hour Division.
  • Employers can confidentially contact the division for guidance on wage-hour laws.

Prevention, compliance, and enforcement are the main priorities for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, according to its administrator, Jessica Looman. Compliance with wage-hour laws is essential for both employers and employees, as failure to comply can lead to back wages and damages for workers. Prevention and compliance require education and outreach, and the division encourages employers to reach out for guidance. Retaliation for reporting violations is a serious issue, and the division works to prevent such behavior. Misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a common violation, which can prevent employees from receiving minimum wage and overtime. The division also enforces other labor standards, such as child labor laws and family and medical leave.

For fiscal year 2023, the division recovered over $274 million in back wages and damages for workers, with a focus on low-wage, high-violation industries like food service and construction. Looman emphasized the importance of ensuring workers are paid correctly on payday, and the division offers guidance and information to make compliance with wage-hour laws as accessible as possible. Information sharing agreements with other agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, help to address misclassification issues that impact employment taxes. Overall, the goal of the Wage and Hour Division is to promote compliance with wage-hour laws to protect both workers and employers.

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