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Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Labor

GAO-23-106464 Published: May 09, 2023. Publicly Released: May 16, 2023.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations.

This letter to the Department of Labor outlines 11 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, we recommended that it examine and publicly report on the extent and potential causes of racial and ethnic inequities in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The Department of Labor implemented 2 recommendations we identified as a priority last year.

We regularly update priority recommendations here.

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What GAO Found

In July 2022, GAO identified twelve priority recommendations for the Department of Labor (DOL). Since then, DOL implemented two recommendations by: (1) revising a Memorandum of Understanding to improve collaboration to ensure the safety of meat and poultry workers, and setting time frames to evaluate the memorandum; and (2) taking steps to ensure employers submit injury and illness data when required, and better identify employers who are out of compliance with this reporting requirement.

In May 2023, GAO identified one additional priority recommendation for DOL, bringing the total number to 11. These 11 recommendations involve the following areas:

  • stronger protections for wage earners,
  • enhancing unemployment insurance; and
  • protecting sensitive information.

DOL's attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Cindy Brown Barnes (202) 512-7215 or

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