Millions of U.S. workers participate in "contingent" employment, such as temporary or part-time work, and not in permanent or full-time jobs. The Department of Labor (DOL) enforces several labor laws to protect these and other workers, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which provides minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor protections. In June 2000, GAO reported that contingent workers lagged behind standard full-time workers in terms of income, benefits, and workforce protections, and that some employees do not receive worker protections because employers misclassified them as independent contractors. GAO was asked to update this report by describing (1) the size and nature of the contingent workforce, (2) the benefits and workforce protections provided to contingent workers, and (3) the actions that DOL takes to detect and address employee misclassification. We analyzed DOL survey data on contingent workers and interviewed DOL officials.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Labor||1. To facilitate the reporting of FLSA complaints, the Secretary of Labor should instruct the Wage and Hour Division to revise the FLSA workplace poster to include national, regional, and district office telephone numbers and a Web site address that complainants may use to report alleged employee misclassification issues.|
|Department of Labor||2. To facilitate addressing employee misclassification across federal and state programs, the Secretary of Labor should instruct the Wage and Hour Division to evaluate the extent to which misclassification cases identified through FLSA investigations are referred to the appropriate federal or state agency potentially affected by employee misclassification, and take action to make improvements as necessary. In addressing its referral mechanism, the Wage and Hour Division officials should consider building upon efforts by district offices currently engaging in referrals.|