What is the Department of Labor, and What Does It Do?

The Department of Labor is a U.S. government agency which regulates working conditions and numerous other employment-related issues. It is responsible for workplace safety, working hours, employee pensions, job training programs and worker compensation. The highest official in the DOL is the Secretary of Labor, who sits on the president’s cabinet. The DOL is split into a number of sub-departments, each with its own area of responsibility.

The Wage and Hour Division monitors and enforces laws relating to minimum wage, overtime, medical and family leave, child labor and laws which are concerned with how employees are treated. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs manages compensation programs for employees who have been injured, are sick or have become disabled.

The Office of Labor-Management Standards regulates the transparency of labor unions, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs takes care of ensuring that federal contractors follow non-discrimination laws.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, collects data relating to labor and other economic information. Also, there is OSHA, which is responsible for all aspects of workplace safety and sets regulations which govern mandatory safety features for any tools or machinery sold in the country are among the other departments of the DOL.

In addition to making sure that your employer treats you fairly and appropriately, the DOL oversees the retirement programs. They ensure that the retirement benefits offered by employers are properly set up and managed. In brief, the DOL administers not only laws relating to those who are working, but also those laws which protect those who no longer work or can’t work.

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