President Biden’s $ 6 trillion 2022 budget proposal focuses on protecting workers, including the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. These two plans contain work and numerous employment initiatives. The budget proposes increased funding for the Department of Labor (“DOL”), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”).
Budget 2022 provides $ 2.1 billion, an increase of $ 304 million, for DOL worker protection agencies. Over the past four years, these agencies have lost around 14% of their staff, limiting DOL’s ability to conduct inspections and conduct investigations.
For example, losses of personnel at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration have strained resources, especially amid increased threats to health and safety in the United States. work created by the pandemic. Budget 2022 provides for an increase in OSHA of more than $ 73 million to help OSHA rebuild its regulatory and enforcement capacity, expand its whistleblower protection program, and increase awareness and support for conformity. OSHA hopes to double the number of inspectors by the end of President Biden’s first term, a significant increase to 207 new enforcement positions and 63 for whistleblower programs.
At DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”), Budget 2022 increases funding by more than $ 30 million. This would be used to support WHD’s efforts to examine worker misclassification issues, as well as to enforce other regulated areas, such as effective wages and family and medical leave.
Finally, Budget 2022 calls for a $ 35 million increase in funding for the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (or “OFCCP”), the main regulator of federal contractors. The request restores resources to oversee and enforce the employment equality obligations of federal contractors, including protections against discrimination based on race, sex, disability, gender identity and gender. sexual orientation. The 2022 budget request includes the funding of 175 additional posts for execution.
The Budget proposed by the EEOC increases the agency’s funding level by 10 percent to about $ 446 million. The budget asks the EEOC to also play a role in the DOL-led misclassification of workers program and would increase the total number of full-time employees of the EEOC to around 2,260 by adding lawyers, investigators and additional mediators.
The The budget requested by the NLRB of $ 301.9 million is a 10.1% increase from fiscal 2021, and it is intended to bolster its workforce after downsizing during the Trump administration. Eighty-one percent of the requested budget is allocated to annual staff compensation, including 108 new posts in field offices and 13 new staff in Board offices in order to maintain adequate staff in support to the Board. missions.
While final budget figures are not complete until approved by Congress, the Biden administration’s focus on greater worker protection, enforcement and regulatory oversight does not could not be clearer.
We will continue to monitor the development of the budget in Washington.