U.S. Labor Department to Require Employer Compliance Plans for Wage, Job Safety and Equal Employment Laws

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The federal labor laws compliance issue is sparking controversy, now that the U. S. Department of Labor has announced that it will require businesses to develop, implement and manage compliance plans.

The federal government’s point of view has merit, since it knows, for example, that it is not collecting a significant amount of Social Security taxes because too many employers are mistakenly or purposely classifying some workers as independent contractors. Because the Labor Department’s few thousand inspectors can’t review nine million workplaces, part of the philosophy behind the required compliance plans is essentially to ask employers to become extensions of the regulatory process.

According to federal officials and those that support the compliance plan mandate say that too many employers have be able to play a “catch-me-if-you-can” game. The Labor Department claims that the lack of scrutiny has caused many employers to bet against being caught and continue to violate various federal labor laws that protect employees’ wages; their health and safety in dangerous occupations, such as coalminers; and discriminatory practices.

Those on the other side of this issue, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, see the mandated compliance plans as another intrusion by the government into private businesses. Chamber officials and other supporters of a “hands-off” policy think this requirement will allow the government to micromanage any business that it chooses to monitor for compliance instead of focusing on regulating the labor laws.

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