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The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is a
cabinet-level A cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the executive branch's top leaders. Members of a cabinet are usually called cabinet ministers or secretaries. The function of a cabinet varies: in some countries, it ...
department of the
U.S. federal government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories and ...
responsible for
occupational safety and health Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health, or occupational safety, is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at occupat ...
, wage and hour standards,
unemployment benefits Unemployment benefits, also called unemployment insurance, unemployment payment, unemployment compensation, or simply unemployment, are payments made by authorized bodies to unemployed people. In the United States, benefits are funded by a compuls ...
, reemployment services, and some
economic statistics Economic statistics is a topic in applied statistics that concerns the collection, processing, compilation, dissemination, and analysis of economic data. It is also common to call the data themselves 'economic statistics', but for this usage see ...
; many
U.S. state In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares ...
s also have such departments. The department is headed by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. The purpose of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the wellbeing of the wage earners, job seekers, and
retiree A pensioner is a person who lives on a pension, most commonly because of retirement from the workforce. This is a term typically used in the United Kingdom (along with OAP), Ireland and Australia where someone of pensionable age may also be referr ...
s of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. In carrying out this mission, the Department of Labor administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws and thousands of federal regulations. These mandates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 10 million employers and 125 million workers. Marty Walsh is the current secretary, having been confirmed by the
United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the House of Representatives being the lower chamber. Together they compose the national bicameral legislature of the United States. The composition and powe ...
on March 22, 2021. The department's headquarters is housed in the
Frances Perkins Building The Frances Perkins Building is the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the United States Department of Labor. It is located at 200 Constitution Avenue NW and runs alongside Interstate 395. The structure is named after Frances Perkins, the U.S. Secr ...
, named in honor of
Frances Perkins Frances Perkins (born Fannie Coralie Perkins; April 10, 1880 – May 14, 1965) was an American workers-rights advocate who served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945, the longest serving in that position. She made history as the ...
, the Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945.


History

In 1884, the U.S. Congress first established a
Bureau of Labor Statistics The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the ...
with the Bureau of Labor Act, to collect information about labor and employment. This bureau was under the
Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the U.S. government. It is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resources, and the administration of programs rel ...
. The Bureau started collecting economic data in 1884, and published their first report in 1886. Later, in 1888, the Bureau of Labor became an independent Department of Labor, but lacked executive rank. In February 1903, it became a bureau again when the
Department of Commerce and Labor The United States Department of Commerce and Labor was a short-lived Cabinet department of the United States government, which was concerned with controlling the excesses of big business. It was created on February 14, 1903, during the administra ...
was established. United States President
William Howard Taft William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States (1909–1913) and the tenth Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930), the only person to have held both offices. Taft was elected preside ...

William Howard Taft
signed the March 4, 1913, bill (the last day of his presidency), establishing the Department of Labor as a
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing c ...
-level department. William B. Wilson was appointed as the first Secretary of Labor on March 5, 1913, by President Wilson. In October 1919, Secretary Wilson chaired the first meeting of the
International Labour Organization The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards. Founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the firs ...
even though the U.S. was not yet a member. In September 1916, the
Federal Employees' Compensation Act The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), is a United States federal law, enacted on September 7, 1916. Sponsored by Sen. John W. Kern (D) of Indiana and Rep. Daniel J. McGillicuddy (D) of Maine, it established compensation to federal civil se ...
introduced benefits to workers who are injured or contract illnesses in the workplace. The act established an agency responsible for federal workers’ compensation, which was transferred to the Labor Department in the 1940s and has become known as the
Office of Workers' Compensation Programs The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs administers four major disability compensation programs which provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to certain workers or their dependents who ...
.
Frances Perkins Frances Perkins (born Fannie Coralie Perkins; April 10, 1880 – May 14, 1965) was an American workers-rights advocate who served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945, the longest serving in that position. She made history as the ...
, the first female cabinet member, was appointed to be Secretary of Labor by President Roosevelt on March 4, 1933. Perkins served for 12 years, and became the longest-serving Secretary of Labor. During the John F. Kennedy Administration, planning was undertaken to consolidate most of the department's offices, then scattered around more than 20 locations. In the mid‑1960s, construction on the "New Labor Building" began and construction was finished in 1975. In 1980, it was named in honor of Frances Perkins.
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese full- ...
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
asked Congress to consider the idea of reuniting Commerce and Labor. He argued that the two departments had similar goals and that they would have more efficient channels of communication in a single department. However, Congress never acted on it. In the 1970s, following the
civil rights movement#REDIRECT Civil rights movement#REDIRECT Civil rights movement {{Rcat shell, {{R from other capitalisation {{R from related ...
{{Rcat shell, {{R from other capitalisation {{R from related ...
, the Labor Department under Secretary George P. Shultz made a concerted effort to promote racial diversity in unions. In 1978, the Department of Labor created the Philip Arnow Award, intended to recognize outstanding career employees such as the
eponymous An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or which someone or something is, or is believed to be, named. The adjectives derived from eponym include ''eponymous'' and ''eponymic''. Word usage The word is used in different ways. In the ...
Philip Arnow. In the same year, Carin Clauss became the department's first female solicitor of the department. In 2010, a local of the
American Federation of Government Employees The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is an American labor union representing over 670,000 employees of the federal government, about 5,000 employees of the District of Columbia, and a few hundred private sector employees, mostly i ...
stated their unhappiness that a longstanding
flextime Flextime (also spelled flexitime ritish English flex-time) is a flexible hours schedule that allows workers to alter workday start and finish times. In contrast to traditional work arrangements that require employees to work a standard 9a.m. to 5p.m ...
program reduced under the
George W. Bush administrationGeorge may refer to: People * George (given name) * George (surname) Places Australia * Lake George (New South Wales) South Africa * George, Western Cape ** George Airport United States * George, Iowa * George, Missouri * George, Washington * Ge ...
had not been restored under the
Obama administration The presidency of Barack Obama began at noon EST (17:00 UTC) on January 20, 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, and ended on January 20, 2017. Obama, a Democrat from Illinois, took office followin ...
. Department officials said the program was modern and fair and that it was part of ongoing contract negotiations with the local. In August 2010, the
Partnership for Public Service The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C. whose mission is to inspire a new generation of civil servants and to transform the way government works. The Partnership's most visible programs ...
ranked the Department of Labor 23rd out of 31 large agencies in its annual "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" list. In December 2010, then–Department of Labor Secretary
Hilda Solis Hilda Lucia Solis (; born October 20, 1957) is an American politician and a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for the 1st district. Solis previously served as the 25th United States Secretary of Labor from 2009 to 2013, as part ...
was named the chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, of which Labor has been a member since its beginnings in 1987. In July 2011,
Ray Jefferson Ray Jefferson is a former US Assistant Secretary with the Department of Labor for the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS). He graduated from the United States Military Academy and served in the US army. During a training session while ...
, Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training Service, VETS resigned due to his involvement in a contracting scandal. In March 2013, the department began commemorating its centennial. In July 2013, Tom Perez was confirmed as Secretary of Labor. According to remarks by Perez at his swearing-in ceremony, "Boiled down to its essence, the Department of Labor is the department of opportunity." In April 2017, Alexander Acosta was confirmed as the new Secretary of Labor. In July 2019, Acosta resigned due to a scandal involving his role in the plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein. He was succeeded on September 30, 2019, by Eugene Scalia. Scalia served until the beginning of the Biden administration on January 20, 2021. The present Secretary is Marty Walsh.


Freedom of Information Act processing performance

In the latest Center for Effective Government analysis of 15 federal agencies which receive the most Freedom of Information Act (United States), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, published in 2015 (using 2012 and 2013 data, the most recent years available), the Labor Department earned a D by scoring 63 out of a possible 100 points, i.e., did not earn a satisfactory overall grade.Making the Grade: Access to Information Scorecard 2015
March 2015, 80 pages, Center for Effective Government, retrieved 21 March 2016


Agencies, boards, offices, programs, library and corporation of the department

* Administrative Review Board (Labor), Administrative Review Board (ARB) * Benefits Review Board (BRB) * Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) *
Bureau of Labor Statistics The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the ...
(BLS) * Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiative (CFOI) * Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) * Employees' Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) * Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOMBD) * Employment and Training Administration (ETA) * Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) * Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) * OFCCP, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) * Office of Inspector General (OIG) * The Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) *
Office of Workers' Compensation Programs The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs administers four major disability compensation programs which provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to certain workers or their dependents who ...
(OWCP) * Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) * Wage and Hour Division (WHD) * United States Women's Bureau, Women's Bureau (WB) * Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation ** PBGC Office of the Inspector General * Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) * Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA) * Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM) ** Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) * Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP) * Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) * Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) * Office of Public Affairs (OPA) * Office of Public Engagement, Office of Public Liaison (OPL) * Office of the Solicitor (SOL) * United States Secretary of Labor, Office of the Secretary (OSEC) **United States Deputy Secretary of Labor, Office of the Deputy Secretary


Other

* Wirtz Labor Library * Job Corps


Related legislation

* 1926: Railway Labor Act * 1949: Fair Labor Standards Amendment PL 81-393 * 1953: Small Business Administration, Small Business Act PL 83-163 * 1954: Internal Revenue Code PL 83-591 * 1955: Fair Labor Standards Amendment PL 84-381 * 1958: Small Business Administration extension PL 85-536 * 1961: Fair Labor Standards Amendment PL 87-30 * 1961: Area Redevelopment Act PL 87-27 * 1962: Manpower Development and Training Act PL 87-415 * 1962: Public Welfare Amendments PL 87-543 * 1963: Amendments to National Defense Education Act PL 88-210 * 1964: Economic Opportunity Act PL 88-452 * 1965: Vocational Rehabilitation Act amended PL 89-333 * 1965: Executive Order 11246 * 1965: McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act * 1966: Fair Labor Standards Amendment PL 89-601 * 1970: Occupational Safety and Health Act * 1973: Comprehensive Employment and Training Act PL 93-203 * 1973: Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act PL 93-112 * 1974: Fair Labor Standards Amendment PL 93-259 * 1974: Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act PL 92-540 * 1974: Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) Pub.L. 93-406 * 1975: Revenue Adjustment Act (Earned Income Tax Credit) PL 94-12, 164 * 1976: Overhaul of vocational education programs PL 94-482 * 1976: Social Security Act Amendments (Aid to Day Care Centers) PL 94-401 * 1977: Fair Labor Standards Amendment PL 95-151 * 1977: Federal Mine Safety Act, Federal Mine Safety and Health Act * 1978: Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act PL 95-523 * 1981: Budget Reconciliation Act PL 97-35 * 1982: Job Training Partnership Act PL 97-300 * 1983: Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act PL 99-603 * 1988: Family Support Act PL 100-485 * 1988: Employee Polygraph Protection Act * 1989: Fair Labor Standards Amendment PL 101-157 * 1990: Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act PL 101-508 * 1993: Family and Medical Leave Act PL 103-3 * 1993: Omnibus Budget Reconciliation and Bankruptcy Act PL 103-66 * 1996: Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 PL 104-188 * 1996: Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act PL 104-193 * 1996: Veterans Employment Opportunities Act PL 105-339 * 1998: Workforce Investment Act of 1998 * 2014: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act


See also

* Equal Employment Opportunity Commission * National Labor Relations Board * Occupational Information Network (Holland Codes) * Ticket to Work * Title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations * USA.gov * USAFacts


Notes and references


Bibliography

*


External links

*
Department of Labor
on Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, USAspending.gov
U.S. Department of Labor
in the ''Federal Register'' {{DEFAULTSORT:United States Department Of Labor United States Department of Labor, 1913 establishments in Washington, D.C. Government agencies established in 1913 United States federal executive departments, Labor