Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that its Wage and Hour Division will hire 100 investigators to its team as it strengthens support of enforcement efforts, including the protection of workers’ wages, migrant and seasonal workers, rights to family and medical leave and prevailing wage requirements for workers on federal contracts.

The announcement was made before an executive order that requires project labor agreements for federal construction projects of more than $35 million.

The Wage and Hour Division is one of the nation’s labor law enforcement agencies, responsible for enforcing labor laws affecting more than 148 million workers. As part of the enforcement team, investigators’ responsibilities include:

  • Conducting investigations to determine if employers are paying workers and affording them their rights as the law requires;
  • Helping ensure that law-abiding employers are not undercut by employers who violate the law;
  • Promoting compliance through outreach and public education initiatives; and
  • Supporting efforts to combat worker retaliation and worker misclassification as independent contractors.
  • “Adding 100 investigators to our team is an important step in the right direction,” said Acting Wage and Hour administrator Jessica Looman. “We anticipate significantly more hiring activity later in fiscal year 2022. While appropriations will determine our course of action, we are optimistic we will be able to bring new talented professionals onboard to expand our diverse team.”

    In fiscal year 2021, the Wage and Hour Division collected $230 million in wages owed to 190,000 workers. Division representatives also conducted 4,700 outreach events to educate employers and workers alike about their workplace rights and responsibilities.

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