The first Department of Labor budget under the Obama administration places heavy emphasis on workplace safety enforcement and other worker protections.
The agency will be asking Congress for $1.7 billion in funding for programs designed to ensure that employees are kept safe on the job and are paid all the wages and benefits they are due. The request represents a 10 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration would receive a $51 million increase in funding and hire 160 new officers. The Wage and Hour Division would get a $35 million budget increase and add 200 investigators.
In a Web video accompanying the release of the budget, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said that cracking down on workplace violations “is a very important part of my vision.”
Overall, 670 people will be added to the enforcement staff, which Solis said will bring it to a level it has not reached since 2001.