- The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) last Friday launched new online tools geared toward helping new and small businesses with compliance. The agency said the tools will provide small businesses and new companies with simple, straightforward information on laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
- DOL said it set up the tools in response to requests from new and small businesses for a centralized location where they can access information on federal labor laws. According to DOL, the tools, alongside websites worker.gov and employer.gov, will provide the most relevant information and answers to the most frequently asked questions by new and small businesses. The tools also will give these entities greater understanding of federal requirements and help them find resources from other regulatory agencies, DOL said.
- In addition to the tools, WHD recently made compliance assistance videos available, which it said provide short explanations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) provisions, protections and other essential information to help employers understand their legal obligations.
DOL's new compliance assistance tools are part of an initiative that included the creation of an Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI), which Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced Aug. 28. According to DOL, OCI will promote a better understanding of federal employment laws and regulations to help employers avoid violating them, protect U.S. workers' wages and benefits and ensure workplace safety.
The agency said OCI also will work with other federal enforcement agencies to make sure DOL's compliance assistance efforts are effective and to foster a culture of compliance assistance within the department.
DOL's recent efforts align with the Trump administration's "compliance assistance" approach. In other seemingly business-friendly measures, the department rolled out the Payroll Audit Independent Determination pilot program, which allows employers to self-audit pay practices and self-report FLSA violations, loosened its rules for unpaid interns and re-instated its opinion letter program.