Benefits Insights, Summer 2017
The US Department of Labor, which administers many programs that impact government contractors, released its proposed FY18 budget. The budget includes $9.7 billion in discretionary spending, which is a $2.4 billion decrease from FY17.
The administration’s government-wide budget reflects a commitment to national security and includes many trade-offs, primarily from civilian agency discretionary programs, to achieve this goal.
In general, the budget reflects several overarching department goals, including a greater emphasis on compliance assistance and outreach, refocusing and reforming the bureaucracy, and workforce development.
While the Department of Labor budget includes a deep cut, the proposed reductions do not impact the agency uniformly, falling instead almost entirely on employment and training programs. Within employment and training, the largest decreases target state unemployment, dislocated workers’ employment, youth activity, and older worker programs.
Other programs within the department, including those that impact government contractors, are faring better. For example, the Wage and Hour Division, which is responsible for enforcement of the Service Contract Act, Davis-Bacon Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Family and Medical Leave Act and others, includes a budget request of $230 million, a $3 million increase from FY17. The shift to compliance assistance probably means more training, such as the prevailing wage conferences hosted by the Wage and Hour Division.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which administers equal employment and affirmative action programs for government contractors, is targeted for a reduction to $88 million from $105 million in FY17. The budget proposes a reduction in OFCCP employees and the number of field offices.
While the funding and program changes proposed by the administration’s first budget will require congressional approval, the budget nevertheless reflects a shift in agency priorities and methods.