- President Donald Trump's Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal requests $9.4 billion for the U.S. Department of Labor, a $2.6 billion (or 21%) decrease from the 2017 enacted level.
- The proposal calls on the agency to focus on apprenticeships and places a priority on employer "compliance assistance" for workplace safety requirements. It also proposes a paid family leave program that would provide new parents six weeks' leave through the unemployment insurance system.
- The budget did not, however, include the previously proposed merger of DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a Jackson Lewis blog pointed out.
The cuts suggest that DOL activities will be reduced in the coming years and, with the administration favoring employer education over enforcement, it would seem to follow that enforcement activities would be on the chopping block. POLITICO's Morning Shift, however, noted that the reduction is smaller than originally proposed and actually includes a slight staffing increase for the agency.
The focus on apprenticeships is no surprise, given the administration's fondness for them. And the shift to "compliance assistance" is one that often comes with a Republican in the White House.
The paid leave proposal is notable, however, as stakeholders have been watching to see whether Trump would make good on his campaign promise to create such a program. He previously promised to fund the leaves by cracking down on unemployment fraud, but experts have questioned whether that move alone could fully fund the program.