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Enforcement Update from the DOL

January 14, 2016

This January the US Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released statistics on aggregate enforcement data for their 2015 fiscal year, which ended September 30. This is part of an effort to make information more transparent, accountable, and responsive.

Here’s a summary of some of the enforcement trends reflected in the data.

  • In FY2015 the WHD collected $247 million in back wages, which is up 3%, or $6 million, from FY2014.
  • While fewer employees  received back wages in FY2015, the amount they were owed, $1,027 per employee in 2015, was more than in the prior year of $890.
  • Although there were fewer complaints than in any previously tracked year, it appeared to take longer to resolve them – 125 days, up from 116 days in 2014.

Within the construction industries, the number of cases with violations was down from the previous year. However, the number of those involving payment of back wages increased by almost 7%. In addition, there was a significant increase in the number of civil monetary penalties, which grew to 799,221 from 473,566 the prior year.

Overall, the data seems to suggest that WHD is spending more time on fewer and larger cases such as those with civil monetary penalties.

In 2016, the WHD has stated that they want to continue any momentum towards building a stronger and more effective enforcement program, growing staff and support efforts.