What Are the Duties of the Department of Labor?

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The U.S. Department of Labor is any working American’s advocate for respectful treatment by the nation’s employers. The department carries out and enforces more than 180 national labor laws geared to protect Americans from harsh, unfair working conditions. Each state has its own Department of Labor that handles issues on a more local scale but still under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Creates and enforces national labor laws

The Department of Labor has the responsibility to develop and maintain certain laws that are created to protect and assist all Americans who are employed or once were employed (laid off, retirees and veterans). A small portion of the many laws that are enforced includes the existence of a minimum wage, specific rules about being paid for overtime work and intolerance of any sort of discrimination (such as race or religion) in the workplace.

Read More: Sweatshop Labor Laws

Ensures safety of employees

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the department inspects businesses for compliance with all OSH rules and regulations. Most states have their own OSH division that supports the federal program. Citations are issued to those companies that break strict health and safety codes. The division is also responsible for investigating injuries, illnesses or deaths on the job.

Makes financial contributions

The U.S. Department of Labor is active in helping to eliminate the harshness of child labor on an international scale. It contributes millions of dollars to the International Labor Organization (ILO) for its attention to the issue. Also, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) division of the department offers specific types of grants to certain organizations, as well as national grants to states that need help in stimulating the workforce after a huge economic downturn and major loss of jobs across the state.

Provides free classes and services

The Department of Labor offers various free classes and services to those who need assistance in getting back into the workforce. Services include training for specific jobs, resume writing classes, unemployment insurance for laid-off workers, classes in stress and financial management and assistance in job searching.

Answers people’s questions

Americans can always refer to the Department of Labor, either directly or online, to address any questions or concerns about working conditions.

Gathers statistical information

The department also collects data to compile various reports about employment in the nation, such as unemployment rates and statistical information on specific occupations.

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About the Author

Leonor Crossley has been a graphic designer and writer since 1995, with entertainment and other articles written for "Max Magazine" in Jacksonville, NC, and various websites. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, cum laude, from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.