The Department of Labor (DOL) announced plans for "Plan/Prevent/Protect", a new strategy to increase employment law compliance. Highlighted in the DOL's spring 2010 Regulatory Agenda, the new strategy would place the burden of compliance on employers rather than having government agencies responsible for "catching" violators. Employers and other regulated entities would be asked to assemble plans, create processes, and assign people to monitor compliance with the plan.
"Plan/Prevent/Protect" would address employment law issues regulated by government agencies including the Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
The DOL also announced the possibility of non-regulatory enforcement efforts that would enhance the "Plan/Prevent/Protect" strategy. One way would be to target the issue of employers misclassifying employees as independent contractors. The DOL envisions the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and WHD working together to make sure that employee benefit plan issues would be addressed in misclassification settlements. In addition, there would be follow-up after settlements, including having the employer review their benefit plans. Misclassification is a hot topic in state and federal employment law and is currently being addressed in a new bill before Congress.
While it is uncertain if and when "Plan/Prevent/Protect" will become officially implemented by the government, the announcement is an indicator that the DOL is looking for ways to increase enforcement of employment laws in the future.
Regulatory Agenda Narrative