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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP)

Evaluation of the Wage and Hour Division's Use of Remedies Enforcement Pilot


The purpose of this project is to conduct a quasi-experimental evaluation of DOL's use of remedies under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that would study the differential responses of employers to enforcement actions taken by DOL. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is charged with administering and enforcing the FLSA, the federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, youth employment standards, and other key protections for workers. When a WHD investigation determines that employers have paid their workers in violation of the FLSA, typically DOL requires employers to pay their workers the owed back wages. In some cases, additional remedies are provided for by the FLSA. DOL would like to evaluate how different remedies provided for by the FLSA influence the future compliance of the investigated firm and deter other similarly situated firms from violating the law.


The goals of this evaluation are to discover how different remedies impact:

  1. The future compliance of the investigated firms.
  2. The compliance rates of similar firms in the same industry and/or geographic area (i.e. the ripple effect).


The primary tasks of the evaluation include:

  1. Development of alternative approaches to prospectively generate three or four groups of cases of non-complying employers that are quite similar on key factors but where the remedies were different.
  2. Creation of a matched comparison group approach and implementation strategy that accounts for the follow-up inspection burden.
  3. Analysis of historical administrative data on the use and effects of different remedies and different enforcement actions under the FLSA.
  4. A process evaluation of the different enforcement actions.
  5. Employer focus groups across the country that assess employer attitudes and experiences with FLSA enforcement actions and analyze and report the results from the treatment and comparison cases.

Key Information

The period of performance of this evaluation is 48 months ending September 2015. The overall budget for the evaluation is $1,250,000. The evaluation contractor is IMPAQ International. For more information on this evaluation please contact Celeste Richie at