- The U.S. Labor Department (DOL) announced that its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) collected a record $304 million in back pay for employees in fiscal year 2018. U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said that the department is committed to recovering the wages workers have earned through rigorous enforcement. He cited the record recovery amount as proof of that commitment.
- DOL said WHD set another record by holding more than 3,600 outreach education programs, including training and ground presentations.
- Also, WHD announced a six-month extension to the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which allows employers to report and correct violations voluntarily, in exchange for avoiding court proceedings and damages.
DOL has vowed to continue recovering workers' back pay, but is still eyeing rules to deregulate on behalf of businesses, as Acosta announced at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event last week. Slated for review are the overtime rule and employer joint liability standards. And changes could be made to apprenticeship requirements, grants for higher education and independent contractor guidance, as well.
The PAID program allows employers to self-audit their pay practices, self-report Fair Labor Standards Act violations, and avoid penalties and fees for pay discrepancies. The program is being touted as a win-win for employers and workers, but PAID, as a federal program, doesn't address state wage and hour disputes. Employers will need to understand how state and local wage and hour laws apply.