Department of Labor:

Rethinking the Federal Role in Worker Protection and Workforce Development

T-HEHS-95-125: Published: Apr 4, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 4, 1995.

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GAO discussed ways to improve the Department of Labor while making it smaller and more effective. GAO noted that: (1) the number and complexity of workplace laws and regulations has increased over the past 60 years, making employers' compliance with and Labor's enforcement of these mandates more difficult; (2) Labor's approach to enforcement is labor-intensive and relies on inspections and penalties, which makes it difficult to fairly and consistently enforce workplace laws; (3) employers and union representatives believe that Labor could foster greater compliance and improve its regulatory efforts by providing more technical assistance to employers and better educating workers about their rights; (4) federal workforce development programs are fragmented, duplicative, and wasteful, and their effectiveness is unknown; and (5) a major overhaul of the 163 federal workforce development programs would create a more effective workforce development system and would likely reduce administrative costs.

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