Monday, February 1, 2010

Speaking of giving . . .

The U.S. Department of Labor requested $117 billion for its fiscal year 2010 budget. Most of the money is to be used for unemployment insurance funds and job restructuring initiatives, but it shouldn't be overlooked what the DOL is requesting for its own staff: more than 350 new hires, including 177 investigators and enforcement staff. The DOL will emphasize hiring bilingual staff members "to better communicate with employees in the changing workplace."

The allocation request breaks down to half a billion for OSHA, and $244 million for Wage & Hour (with funding earmarked for 90 new investigators in that division), with $25 million of that for a Misclassification Initiative aimed at looking more closely into whether an individual is an employee incorrectly classified (hence, the name) as an independent contractor.

One carrot for States: a $50 million State Paid Leave Fund to "encourage" states to apply for competitive grants to launch paid-leave programs and offset start-up costs.

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