Officials at the Department of Labor reiterated familiar themes during a panel hosted by the Center for American Progress on Thursday. During the symposium, entitled Enforcement Matters: How Workplace Law Enforcement Can Boost Americans’ Wages and Strengthen the Economy, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez claimed increasing the federal minimum wage is the "centerpiece" of the President's economic agenda. Perez noted also that the agency's proposed rule to revise the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime exemption for "white collar" employees should be ready by next year. As part of this proposal, the agency will seek comment on what the effective overtime threshold should be, particularly for managerial employees. Perez also discussed what he considers not worker misclassification but rather "workplace fraud," and said many individuals are improperly classified as independent contractors instead of employees.
Wage and Hour Administrator David Weil picked up on Perez's workplace fraud theme, claiming that the "fissuring" of today's workplace is responsible for many current employment ills. Weil said outsourcing, subcontracting, and misclassification are becoming increasingly common, and contribute to potential wage theft. He singled out the retail and restaurant industries as being particularly vulnerable.
In conjunction with the program, the DOL issued a report: The Social and Economic Effects of Wage Violations: Estimates for California and New York.
A webcast of the event can be viewed here.