DOL IS STARTING TO MOVE AHEAD ON REGULATORY REFORM
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been moving much more slowly than the NLRB in regulatory reform. Possible explanations include long delays in approving political appointments to the DOL, the cautious nature of Labor Secretary Acosta, and a controversy over Acosta's involvement in a decade-old plea deal while he was a federal prosecutor in Florida. It has been widely reported that White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who is the principal architect of the Administration's deregulatory agenda, has directly involved himself in DOL decisions so as to increase the deregulatory process.
At the top of the list are the new salary tests for overtime pay coverage; a proposal to clarify when employers can exclude worker benefits from the "regular rate" used in setting the overtime pay level for work beyond 40 hours; and the narrowing of the joint employment definition. Other priorities include more regulatory moves such as implementing the Trump 2017 Executive Order to improve the federal apprenticeship system and moving along completion of regulations designed to expand small-business health and retirement plans. Future plans include proposals to give employers more flexibility in how to compensate workers; modification of the Family and Medical Leave Act; revisions to how unions are audited; and more quality control of the federal-state unemployment insurance system.