What Is the US Dept. of Labor (DOL)?

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is a cabinet-level department of the United States government responsible for promoting the welfare of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements.

Here are some of the specific things that the DOL does:

  • Administers federal labor laws, including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support.
  • Provides job training and placement services for unemployed workers.
  • Enforces laws that protect workers’ pensions and health benefits.
  • Promotes collective bargaining and labor-management cooperation.
  • Conducts research on employment and labor issues.
  • Collects and publishes data on employment, wages, prices, and other economic indicators.
  • Administers the federal minimum wage.
  • Investigates and remedies workplace discrimination.
  • Protects workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively.
  • Enforces child labor laws.
  • Provides assistance to workers who have been injured on the job.
  • Provides unemployment insurance benefits to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

The DOL is a large and complex organization with a wide range of responsibilities. It is an important part of the federal government’s efforts to promote economic security and opportunity for all Americans.

Here are some of the DOL’s key programs:

  • The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) provides job training and placement services for unemployed workers.
  • The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) enforces laws that protect workers’ wages, hours, and working conditions.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces standards for workplace safety and health.
  • The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) protects workers’ pensions and health benefits.
  • The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age in federal contracts.
  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) sets and enforces standards for mine safety and health.
  • The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) provides employment and training services to veterans.

The DOL also has a number of other programs that promote the welfare of workers, such as the Women’s Bureau, the Office of Disability Employment Policy, and the Office of Apprenticeship.