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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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FY 2004 Annual Performance Plan

FY 2004 Performance Goals, Strategies and Cross-Cutting Programs Cont.

Means and Strategies

Operating Agencies: ETA, ESA, EBSA, PBGC

Sustained Efforts in FY 2004:

To help raise overall first payment timeliness and new status determination timeliness, DOL will initially ensure that the State Quality Service Plans of States with performance below the established minimum criteria (87% for payment timeliness, 60% for new status determination timeliness) have the mandatory corrective action plans to raise performance at least to the criterion level. DOL will also especially urge all other States that are above the minimum levels, but below the Government Performance and Results Act targets, to develop plans to improve the speed of handling benefit claims or new status liability determinations, without compromising the accuracy of determinations. (2.2A)

  • DOL will provide the system with quarterly reports on State payment timeliness and State employer tax liability determination timeliness so that progress can be monitored and problems can be addressed immediately. (2.2A)
  • DOL will continue to support cross cutting activities pertaining to coordinated compliance assistance for small businesses and One-Stop Career Centers for education and outreach. (2.2B)
  • DOL will continue to target and investigate pension, health care and other plan violations where participants are most susceptible to actual loss of benefits, or “populations” of plan participants who are potentially exposed to the greatest risk of falling victim to unlawful conduct. The Solicitor will continue to support EBSA's enforcement efforts by pursuing litigation to remove bad actors and to make financial recoveries on behalf of plan participants. (2.2B)
  • DOL will expand its “orphan plan” project as a means for safeguarding employee benefits where fiduciaries have abdicated their responsibilities through neglect, death, bankruptcy, or incarceration (2.2B).
  • In conjunction with the many private and public partners, continue educating employees, employers, and third party administrators about the health benefit laws via the Department's national Health Benefits Education Campaign. (2.2B)
  • Via the Department's Benefit Advisors, conduct grassroots outreach to plan sponsors by proactively seeking out local organizations and events to distribute printed compliance assistance material and provide technical assistance (2.2B)
  • DOL continues to enforce the health care provisions in the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA) to ensure there is compliance with the new health care laws. The Department continues a nationwide enforcement project to conduct investigations of health plans to ensure that workers and their families are not unjustly denied any protections provided under the new health care provisions. (2.2B)
  • DOL will expand its outreach efforts to: 1) raise public awareness about where to seek assistance about their rights; 2) educate workers and their employers about health and pension plans. (2.2B)
  • DOL will enhance its efforts to provide individual technical assistance to workers who have questions about their health and pension benefits or need assistance in obtaining those benefits; and provide information to employers and plan sponsors about their responsibilities under the various laws. An informed and knowledgeable customer (worker or business) is an asset to ensuring compliance with the laws and will positively impact our efforts at recovering benefits for participants. (2.2B)
  • DOL will develop and refine compliance guides for the public and the Department's customer service staff to assist them in handling inquiries and ensure that American workers and their families receive the important protections afforded under the numerous enacted health care laws. (2.2B)
  • DOL's Quality Case Management strategy employs creative methods and services to assist the recovery and return to work of Federal employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses, including early case management by nurses who coordinate medical treatment and reemployment. Further, the non-adversarial nature of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) program allows the ESA to work with Federal agencies and employee unions to facilitate the return to work process. (2.2C)
  • DOL will facilitate returns to work through better oversight of medical treatment:
    • Continue the Quality Case Management Program, in which new injury cases receive early intervention from nurses allowing case management to begin at a point when it can be much more effective.
    • Actively manage disability cases in the early Continuation of Pay (COP) period.
    • Improve access to expert medical evaluation.
    • Communicate more effectively with medical providers, through better technology and interaction between treating physicians and nurse case managers.
    • Screen cases for appropriateness of medical and pharmacological treatment, identifying outliers for directed review. (2.2C)
  • DOL will implement recommendations from the FY 2003 evaluation of the FECA program's disability management and wage loss benefit payment. (2.2C)
  • Through OWCP's work with OSHA, ESA will assist Federal agencies to reduce injuries, improve timely filing of injury reports, and assist injured workers to obtain benefits and return to work. Specific actions include conducting periodic conferences, technical assistance or informational meetings with the agencies, expanding electronic filing of claims documents, and widening access to OWCP case data and other program information through the Internet and other means. (2.2C)
  • DOL will continue to provide public recognition of Federal agency performance to encourage them to reduce Lost Production Days and improve the timeliness of filing Notices of Injury. (2.2C)
  • DOL will continue to identify and adopt new techniques and resources for placing Federal injured employees with new employers. (2.2C)
  • DOL will increase efficiency and productivity of the rehabilitation program by better oversight and direction of rehabilitation contractors. (2.2C)
  • Using the FECA future benefit liability model developed in FY 1999, ESA will share forecasting information with Federal employing agencies to make them more aware of their projected FECA costs and encourage them to reduce lost production days. (2.2C)
  • DOL will continue to improve mail intake and document imaging processes and paperless operations. (2.2C)
  • DOL will continue to improve customer services, gauge customer needs, and measure customer satisfaction in the FECA program by:
    • Reviewing and making appropriate changes based on recommendations of an outside consultant on industry best practices;
    • Standardizing call-handling across district offices and implementing call quality monitoring;
    • Holding focus groups with Federal agency representatives to assess agency needs for OWCP assistance and improve the quality of assistance provided;
    • Conducting a call-back survey of claimant callers to district offices, and developing other surveys for various customer groups;
    • Measuring district office performance against nationwide standards to ensure a high level of caller access to telephone services, prompt and accurate responses, professional handling, and high quality. (2.2C)
  • DOL will replace the FECA program's data management system with the Integrated Federal Employee's Compensation System (IFECS), thereby substantially improving the efficiency and effectiveness facilitating improvement of automated claims processing and will support of E-Government objectives through expansion of Electronic Data Interchange and web-based other electronic communications and information services. (2.2C)
  • DOL will seek to improve financial performance and ensure proper medical care for injured workers by outsourcing medical bill processing, including developing improved processing of Prior Authorizations before surgery and other medical procedures and development of Medical Utilization Review (UR). Through UR, FECA will monitor the level and appropriateness of medical services as related to medical condition. (2.2C)
  • DOL will continue to improve fiscal integrity by using fee schedules to reduce medical, pharmacy and hospital service costs under FECA. (2.2C)
  • The Periodic Roll Management system will continue to review long-term cases on the disability roll and reevaluate case status for change in medical condition and potential for return to work. (2.2C)
  • DOL will continue to use mediation skills, outreach, and other communication tools to work closely with parties to contested cases under the Longshore program as a means for expending resolution of disputed issues in those cases. (2.2C)
  • DOL will continue to use outreach and technical assistance activities with all Black Lung program stakeholder communities to promote an atmosphere of understanding and constructive cooperation in support of fewer challenges to program adjudication decisions. ESA will also work with Black Lung's authorized diagnostic provider community to emphasize the need for complete and accurate medical reports that satisfy program requirements and further support fewer challenges to program adjudication decisions. (2.2C)
  • DOL will develop new and improved ADP tools, such as an on-line quality control checklist, to support the timeliness and quality of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) decisions, benefit delivery, and case management. (2.2C)
  • PBGC will assume responsibility for under-funded defined benefit pension plans where necessary to ensure that participants' pension benefits are continuously provided. About 3,300 trusteed plans (with approximately 1,000,000 participants) will be under PBGC's management in FY 2004. The unexpected upsurge in the number of participants for whose pension benefits PBGC assumes responsibility (i.e., 206,000 in FY 2003 vs. 50,000 projected when the original budget was formulated) presents an additional challenge in meeting this performance goal.  To achieve its ACSI goals in the face of the unprecedented high volume of new participants, PBGC has developed new strategies to accelerate the benefits determination process, and to address participant expectations by continuing to improve the process by which participants are informed of their benefits due, and to assure that benefits paid are accurate.  PBGC also continues to focus on improving customer service to premium payers (sponsors) and is currently engaged in extensive business process improvement efforts in that area. (2.2D)

Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2004:

  • DOL will work with States to improve benefit payment accuracy by guidance on the extent and nature of erroneous denials from denied claim accuracy data (a part of the Benefit Accuracy Measurement – BAM – system.) DOL will also provide States with additional analytical BAM data on the nature and cause of overpayments to assist them in crafting better front-end procedures for preventing overpayments. (2.2A)
  • States received $8 billion in Reed Act funds in FY 2002. An FY 2002 directive stressed the need for States to devote some of these funds to Unemployment Insurance integrity activities. (2.2A)
  • State implementation of real-time data exchanges between Unemployment Insurance agencies and Social Security during FY 2004 will allow more efficient and thorough detection of ineligible aliens and persons misusing Social Security numbers. (2.2A)
  • All States should be using the State Directory of New Hires intensively, and it is expected that Federal legislation will also give them access to the National Directory of New Hires (NDHS). Use of new hires data may raise BAM overpayment estimates by allowing the Benefit Accuracy Measurement system to better detect claimants who work while claiming benefits, while also enabling States to increase recoveries by detecting such overpayments earlier than with the wage-benefit cross-match (2.2A)
  • The Department is focusing attention on the role the UI program plays in facilitating the reemployment of UI claimants.  As the front door to the One-Stop system, states' UI systems are uniquely positioned to link UI claimants with available services to aid in their reemployment.  By development of an entered employment rate for UI beneficiaries as a measure of program success, the Department will emphasize the UI program's responsibility for speeding claimants' return to work.
  • DOL will work with States to facilitate reemployment of UI claimants by working against targets for entered employment established by FY 2004. Pending OMB approval, States will implement additional data collection to obtain entered employment data on a continuing basis and use it to guide their reemployment assistance to Unemployment Insurance claimants. (2.2A)
  • DOL will dedicate resources to enhance performance in providing timely, high quality interpretive guidance and to enhance compliance assistance programs that provide pension plan information to the regulated community. (2.2B)
  • DOL will enhance its website presence by improving content, design and usability and improve customer access and functionality. (2.2C).
  • PBGC will implement a reengineered plan valuation process and deploy an automated benefit calculation system (Ariel) that will speed final benefit determinations and benefit estimates to participants, and improve the accuracy of the benefit calculation process, thereby improving customer satisfaction. (2.2D)
  • PBGC new premium system, to be implemented in FY 2005, will support more accurate processing of premium payments and premium refunds, and compliment on-line premium filing, important factors in improving customer satisfaction among plan sponsors. (2.2D)
  • PBGC will implement and continue to enhance on-line self-service centers for participants and pension practitioners via www.pbgc.gov. These on-line self-service centers will provide authenticated users with the ability to conduct corporate electronic business transactions and view their individual account information, resulting in faster and more accurate delivery of benefit calculations and benefit payments to participants. (2.2D)

Cross-Cutting Programs and Issues

DOL will work to see that state Unemployment Insurance agencies coordinate with other elements of the Workforce Development System so that Unemployment Insurance claimants receive the fullest possible reemployment assistance.

To fulfill the Department's employee benefit plan responsibilities, EBSA works with HHS, Treasury, the National Economic Council, the Bureau of Census, BLS, the Thrift Savings Board, the Solicitor's Office, and the Small Business Administration (SBA). EBSA has established a Federal-State-local partnership to help employee benefit plan participants who are at risk, (e.g., dislocated workers) understand not only their rights, but also how their employment status may affect their pension and health benefits.

In addition, EBSA and SOL coordinate enforcement, policy, regulatory, and public information programs with numerous Federal, State, and local entities in carrying out the Department's ERISA and Federal Employee Retirement Security Act responsibilities. Under ERISA, DOL/EBSA shares enforcement responsibilities with the Treasury Department, the IRS, and DOL's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Cooperation with these agencies promotes increased benefit coverage by minimizing regulatory and administrative burdens, to the extent appropriate, with respect to ERISA's statutory and regulatory requirements.

Additionally, DOL/EBSA often coordinates enforcement actions with financial institution regulatory agencies, such as the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, State insurance and financial regulatory entities, as well as with the enforcement agencies such as DOL's Office of Inspector General, the FBI, US Postal Service, and State and local law enforcement agencies.

DOL/ESA/OWCP's Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) program involves every Federal agency in the filing and management of injury compensation claims, providing services to injured workers, and assisting in the effective administration of the FECA program. For example, the FECA program coordinates with the Office of Personnel Management on matters of benefit elections, and in some specialized claims, with State and local police agencies on matters of entitlement and benefits. Federal agencies that undertake special initiatives related to management of their injured employees' claims work closely with FECA program offices at the national and regional levels to evaluate best practices. Other efforts improve communication and cooperation to reduce lost productivity due to workplace injuries. FECA's Agency Query System gives agencies secure, on-line access to information on their employees' FECA claims, enabling them to provide better service to their injured employees and assist FECA claims processing and case management. In new injury cases, the Department assigns nurses to coordinate among injured workers, agencies, and medical providers to resolve issues and facilitate recovery and return to work. DOL/ESA/OWCP is working with all Federal agencies to improve timeliness of injury notices and claims submissions – in part through expansion of electronic filing – and to increase re-employment opportunities. OWCP has established ongoing measures of agency performance, which are posted on the Internet.

DOL's OWCP and OSHA work with Federal agencies to reduce new workplace accident/illness rates, speed the timeliness of reporting new injuries to the Department of Labor, and reduce lost production days rates. OWCP works with Federal agencies by intervening in lost time cases, providing case management, and tracking disability time lost during the Continuation of Pay period immediately following an injury. DOL measures agencies' performance on its website at http://www.dol-esa.gov/fesii. DOL tracks and posts detailed agency (sub-agency) performance in terms of timely injury notice submission. DOL/ESA/OWCP works in tandem with OSHA and the Office of Disability Employment Policy to help agencies reduce accidents/illnesses and speed return to work.

DOL/ESA/OWCP has primary responsibility under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). OWCP is charged with issuing compensation and medical benefits to eligible applicants, and coordinates with three other Federal agencies to ensure the successful administration of this program; the Department of Energy provides work and exposure histories relevant to claims for benefits under EEOICPA and assists workers in filing State workers' compensation claims; the Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for establishing guidelines and reconstructing the radiation dose exposure histories of certain claimants with cancer; and the Justice Department is obligated to notify uranium workers eligible for benefits under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act that they may also be eligible for compensation under EEOICPA.

DOL/ESA/OWCP's Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation administers and monitors benefit payments under the Black Lung Benefits Act. The responsibility for claims under Part B of the Act was shifted from the Social Security Administration (SSA), to DOL effective February 1, 2003, by P.L. 107-275. (Prior to that date DOL had been handling most of the work associated with these claims on a reimbursable basis, under a memorandum of understanding with SSA.).

4.3       DOL Strategic Goal 3 — Quality Workplaces

DOL STRATEGIC GOAL 3

QUALITY WORKPLACES
Foster quality workplaces that are safe, healthy, and fair

OUTCOME GOALS:

3.1 Reduce workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities
3.2 Foster equal opportunity workplaces
3.3 Reduce exploitation of child labor, protect the basic rights of workers, and strengthen labor markets

 


Total Funds for This Goal (in Billions):

 
 

Fiscal Years

Budget Authority

Outlays

 
 

FY 2004

$1.0

$0.9

 
 

FY 2003

$0.9

$0.9

 
 

FY 2002

$0.9

$0.9

 
 

FY 2001

$0.9

$0.8

 
 

FY 2000

$0.8

$0.7

 
 

FY 1999

$0.7

$0.7

 

This strategic goal is aimed at guaranteeing every working American a safe and healthful workplace with equal opportunity for all. Department of Labor programs and agencies with the primary operational responsibility for achieving this strategic goal include the Employment Standards Administration's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Veterans' Employment and Training Service, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, and the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. In addition, the Office of the Solicitor, the Women's Bureau, the Office on Disability Employment Policy, and the Office of Inspector General provide indirect support to this strategic goal.

OSHA and MSHA have been reviewing their strategic and performance goals, measures, and strategies to reflect the focus and priorities of the Administration. In FY 2004, OSHA and MSHA will expand and refine their compliance assistance and outreach efforts, focusing on the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses and directing training programs to the needs of a 21st Century workforce. The budget request and the annual performance plan's means and strategies present the evolution of the Department's compliance assistance and outreach initiatives, and include building on successes with expert systems, electronic compliance assistance tools and technology-enabled training, focus on root causes of persistent safety problems, and on emerging needs identified by compliance assistance specialists and other front-line staff, in order to provide more direct assistance to the public.

The ESA performance goals for FY 2004 support the Department's commitment to the protection of the American workforce in the 21st Century, and ESA's efforts strongly reflect the Department's current areas of emphasis. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' goal to improve the equal employment opportunity performance of Federal contractors reflects the commitment of the Department to enforce the laws that protect all American workers and give hope to those individuals who have been denied the right to a productive, meaningful work life because of their race, gender, nationality, veterans status, or disability.

VETS' performance goals also target equal opportunity and protection of veterans' job rights, focusing on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to reduce civilian employment problems identified by service members, which are related to the demands of military service. Through an active, aggressive information and outreach effort, the Department provides returning service members, Reserve and National Guard members, and employers information and technical assistance to assure their rights and responsibilities are known and protected. This will include assisting returning service members file and resolve complaints of discrimination and assist employers in knowing their obligations and responsibilities.

The recipients of Federal financial assistance, such as job training and placement services providers under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), are required to refrain from discriminating in providing services or benefits. DOL's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management assures compliance with the civil rights laws that apply to recipients of DOL financial assistance. Efforts begun in FY 2003 to assure that states receiving financial assistance under the WIA provide benefits and services in a non-discriminatory manner to persons with disabilities will continue and be expanded.  

The FY 2004 performance goals for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) support the Department's commitment to the education, training, and protection of workers and children in developing and transition countries. As the economies of the world continue to become more interdependent, the importance of ensuring respect for internationally recognized core labor standards among countries increases, contributing to the labor dimension of the trade policy agenda of the U.S. Government. As such, through our support of efforts to eradicate abusive child labor, to advance workers' protections and economic status throughout the world, and to develop HIV/AIDS in the workplace education projects, ILAB is contributing to efforts to increase economic opportunity and security both here and abroad and meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

The FY 2004 outcome and performance goals for this strategic goal follow. Detailed information on every performance goal, including indicator, data source, baseline and explanatory comments, can be found in Appendix A.

Outcome Goal 3.1—Reduce Workplace Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities

FY 2004 Performance Goals


Total Funds for This Outcome Goal (in Millions)

 

Fiscal Years

Budget Authority

Outlays

 

FY 2004

$ 780

$ 773

 

FY 2003

$ 753

$ 752

 

FY 2002

$ 758

$ 745

 

FY 2001

$ 758

$ 723

 

FY 2000

$ 653

$ 626

 

FY 1999

$ 608

$ 595

A.

Reduce the mine industry fatal injury incidence rate by 15% from the FY 2003 baseline by FY 2008, and reduce the mine industry all-injury incidence rate 50% below the FY 2000 baseline by FY 2008. For FY 2004 this equates to a 3.2% reduction in the fatal incidence rate, and a 24.2% reduction in the all-injury incidence rate.

$174,645,000

B.

Reduce the percentage of respirable coal dust samples exceeding the applicable standards by 5% for designated occupations, and reduce the percentage of silica dust samples in metal and nonmetal mines exceeding the applicable standards by 5% for high-risk occupations.

Reduce the percentage of noise exposures above the citation level in all mines by 5%.

$98,247,000

C.

Reduce the rate of workplace fatalities by 15 % by FY 2008.  For FY 2004, reduce the rate of workplace fatalities by 3%.

D.

Reduce the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses by 20 % by FY 2008.  For FY 2004, reduce the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses by 4%.

Goals 3.1C and D combined: $455,966,000

Means and Strategies

Operating Agencies: OSHA, MSHA

Sustained Efforts in FY 2004:

  • DOL will expand existing outreach efforts in the mining community shifting the emphasis of regulatory programs from after-the-fact enforcement to compliance assistance and prevention, focusing attention on root causes of persistent safety problems and helping mine workers and operators address these problems by working proactively and sharing best practices information. DOL will also provide technical assistance to include analysis of accidents and proposed preventive strategies where specific equipment is involved, seeking both high and low technology solutions, and work with equipment manufacturers, mine operators and miners to address safety hazard controls. DOL will strengthen its efforts in working cooperatively with the mining industry, labor and the States to improve training programs aimed at preventing accidents and injuries. DOL will direct informational outreach programs to occupations with a high incidence of exposures to airborne contaminants and physical agents, with particular attention to dust, noise and diesel particulates. The Department will focus attention on areas where sampling indicates excessive dust and noise levels and will work with operators who are having high exposure problems. (3.1A–B)
  • Through its E-government initiative, the Department will enhance the collection of mine injury and illness information, and operator filing of employment and production information, the approval process for all mine operator plans, and equipment certification through on-line filings. (3.1A–B)
  • The Department will provide mine operators with mine summary data in a user-friendly format to allow them to compare their operations against national norms for similar mines and will develop quarterly mine profiles for the inspectors' use at pre-inspection and post-inspection conferences. (3.1A-B)
  • DOL will target workplace exposures, injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in line with its Strategic Plan. The Department will use the worksite-targeting program to notify over 13,000 employers with high injury and illness rates and provide an opportunity for compliance assistance through its State Consultation Program. OSHA will also establish local partnership agreements. (3.1C–D)
  • DOL will use a variety of compliance assistance, outreach, and cooperative approaches to prevent injuries and illnesses and to reach small businesses and targeted audiences. Approaches include the Voluntary Protection Programs, strategic partnerships, alliances, electronic software systems, web-based training, training grants, local and national emphasis programs, and field compliance assistance. These efforts will be linked to the performance goals. State Consultation providers will be encouraged to target high-priority areas while serving the unique needs of employers—particularly small employers in their States. (3.1C–D)
  • DOL will work with its State plan partners to support the accomplishment of individual State strategic and annual performance plans, which align with the Department's approach. The State strategic and annual performance plans will all target reductions in exposures and injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, tailored to each State's individual priorities. (3.1C–D)
  • DOL will review its existing workplace safety regulations to identify requirements that are outdated or unnecessarily burdensome, or insufficiently protective; and in developing new regulations, conduct more rigorous cost-benefit comparisons and consideration of alternatives. (3.1 C–D)

Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2004:

  • The Department will provide training for small mine operators directed specifically to their needs, and offer training to employees in remote locations. The Department will also train its health, safety and compliance specialists and technical staff, to improve their ability to help employers and miners improve safety and health. (3.1A–B)
  • The Department will share “best practices” methods to address the needs of those mining operations with the poorest performance and conduct focused inspections and compliance assistance to target areas with the greatest need or potential for improvement. (3.1A–B)
  • DOL will implement an enhanced occupational safety and health compliance assistance and outreach effort. This includes a restructuring and consolidating these activities into a Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs. Central to the effort is increased emphasis on providing occupational safety and health compliance assistance and tools needed by employers and workers to comply with safety and health regulations. The initiative also supports:
    • Expanding outreach and assistance programs to non-English speaking workers, hard to reach workers, contingent workers, and younger workers;
    • Expanding the number of voluntary and cooperative programs;
    • Increasing compliance assistance to small businesses;
    • Updating training curricula; and
    • Ensuring the coordination of OSHA's expanding compliance assistance and outreach efforts. (3.1C-D)
  • DOL will assess the extent to which employers are currently using automated external defibrillators and their effectiveness in the workplace, and identify further actions the government could take to encourage their use. (3.1 C)
  • DOL will evaluate its occupational safety and health programs and program strategies (such as approaches to responding to reports of unsafe working conditions, providing compliance assistance, and developing and updating occupational safety and health regulations). (3.1 C-D)
  • DOL will evaluate data for use in health inspection targeting. Currently, DOL has no health inspection targeting system that provides information on the patterns of use and exposure to occupational disease agents. Better illness data will enable DOL to target inspections on the most significant causes of illnesses, including respiratory disease agents. (3.1D)
  • In coordination with the Office of Homeland Security and Department of Homeland Security, DOL will provide emergency preparedness guidance to employers and improve its procedures for responding to incidents at work sites such as chemical plants, fertilizer plants, and manufacturing complexes. (3.1 C-D)

Cross-Cutting Programs and Issues

OSHA, MSHA, BLS, ESA, and ETA work together to accomplish performance goals for reducing workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

Collaborative efforts to ensure consistency in regulatory actions that affect workers in both OSHA and MSHA jurisdictions are ongoing. MSHA and OSHA work closely with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is responsible for conducting research on occupational safety and health issues. MSHA and OSHA will continue to coordinate their research requests and to participate in the establishment of NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda.

OSHA and BLS both collect occupational injury and illness data from individual employers. While the majority of employers are unique to each agency's data collection, there is an overlap of approximately 3,000 employers in each year's data collection. The two agencies have developed a methodology to reduce the burden on employers included in both surveys. OSHA and BLS work cooperatively each year to identify the overlapping employers and send them one data collection form.

Similarly, the two agencies work cooperatively to identify the most effective data collection methodologies. OSHA has relied extensively on BLS data collection experience to develop its own data collection. For example, OSHA uses the BLS edit checks in its data collection software and contracts with the same State agencies to conduct the actual data collection.

ESA and OSHA are working together to make the safety and health of every Federal worker a central value in Federal workplaces and to ensure that, when injuries do occur, Federal employees are given the best possible care and are returned to work as quickly as possible. The joint initiative includes numerical goals for Federal agencies to measure progress on the objectives of reducing workplace injuries and illnesses, reducing the average duration of time away from work due to work injuries, and speeding the return to work. ESA and OSHA are also addressing workplace safety for minors, and have developed a “Youth Rules” program aimed at industries that have a large number of young workers.

OSHA is coordinating efforts with ETA to assist the Laborers International Union in developing a biohazard training curriculum. ETA awarded a training grant to the Laborers to develop the training with OSHA's assistance. The Laborers' certified waste workers will use the curriculum to upgrade their skills. Later, the curriculum will be used by other organizations, including OSHA, to train workers in the safe removal of biochemical agents.

OSHA continues to work closely with a number of Federal agencies to protect workers who are exposed to potential biological and chemical hazards. OSHA's homeland security role involves providing safety and health preparedness assistance and guidance in concert with other Federal agencies. OSHA efforts with the U.S. Postal Service, the CDC, the FBI, EPA, and FEMA resulted in an informational matrix that provides guidance to employers about how to protect their workers against these types of exposures. OSHA is currently in discussion with other federal agencies, including FEMA, regarding various personal protective equipment issues, including certification of respiratory protection and training and fit testing requirements for respiratory protection for personnel who respond to acts of biological and chemical terrorism.

DOL and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly disseminate ergonomics outreach materials to small businesses. In addition, the partnership will encourage a liaison to promote dissemination of information about OSHA small business programs. DOL will focus a significant part of its efforts on the millions of small businesses in various industries across the United States by using the assistance of other Federal government entities and their pre-existing lines of communications to small business. For example, the Director of OSHA's new Office of Small Business Assistance participates in the annual full Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Board meeting sponsored by SBA's Office of the National Ombudsman.

With SBA as lead, OSHA and several Federal and State agencies (EPA, IRS, DOE, DOT, State of Illinois Department of Revenue) are jointly developing a web portal that will enable small business owners to find, understand, and comply with regulations. The final product will be an on-line gateway to enable business to register or file with a government entity, obtain necessary permits or licenses, learn which laws and regulations apply to them and how to obtain compliance guidance for those regulations.

Several other Federal agencies have safety and health responsibilities which overlap those of OSHA, MSHA, and ESA, including the U.S. Coast Guard (for protection of workers in industries dealing with water safety), Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Through the use of memoranda of understanding and other interagency agreements, MSHA, OSHA, and ESA continue to work toward eliminating duplication and minimizing overlap of activities.

Outcome Goal 3.2—Foster Equal Opportunity Workplaces

FY 2004 Performance Goals


Total Funds for This Outcome Goal (in Millions)

 

Fiscal Years

Budget Authority

Outlays

 

FY 2004

$ 114

$ 112

 

FY 2003

$ 110

$ 113

 

FY 2002

$ 109

$ 110

 

FY 2001

$ 100

$ 100

 

FY 2000

$ 100

$ 90

 

FY 1999

$ 82

$ 81

A.

 Federal contractors achieve equal opportunity workplaces as indicated by:

  • Reducing the incidence of discrimination among Federal contractors to 9%.
  • Increasing compliance among Federal contractors in all other respects of equal opportunity workplace standards to 61%.

$82,999,000

B.

Increase the employment of persons with disabilities who participated in DOL financial assistance programs under the Workforce Investment Act. (WIA) as indicated by:

  • Increase the number of Job Corps terminees with disabilities who successfully complete the Job Corps program by 1%.
  • Increase the percentage of persons with disabilities who are WIA registrants by 1%.
  • Increase the percentage of persons with disabilities who positively exit the WIA Title I program by 1%.

$6,158,000

C.

Reduce employer-employee employment issues originating from service members' military obligations conflicting with their civilian employment:

  • Establish baseline of key problem areas for reduction in USERRA cases filed by veterans or service members.

$11,655,000

Means and Strategies

Operating Agencies: ESA, OASAM, VETS

Sustained Efforts in FY 2004:

  • DOL will continue to expand its compliance assistance plan efforts and continue its fair and balanced enforcement program with the tiered compliance evaluation strategy. For all contractors and subcontractors selected for compliance evaluations (including compliance checks, off-site review of records, focused reviews, full compliance evaluations, and complaint investigations), DOL will provide compliance assistance before, during, and after the particular evaluation event. (3.2A)
  • DOL will continue to conduct compliance evaluations and complaint investigations under all ESA authorities, including Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and 38 U.S.C. 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). In this manner, DOL will enhance its compliance evaluations for supply and service contractors and subcontractors, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans. (3.2A)
  • DOL will continue promotion of industry best practices in EEO and anti-discrimination programs by acknowledging employer efforts with the Secretary's Opportunity Award, the Exemplary Voluntary Efforts Award, the Exemplary Public Interest Contribution Award, and the Outstanding Partnership and Liaison Award. (3.2A)
  • DOL will enhance customer service through interactive and personal public education and technical assistance training for stakeholder organizations. (3.2A)
  • DOL will continue to disseminate model employer recruitment practices and will assist contractors in identifying resources for recruiting qualified individuals with disabilities, protected veterans, women, and minorities. Such resources may include, but not be limited to, the nationwide network of One-Stop Centers established by the Workforce Investment Act. (3.2A)
  • The effectiveness of the various components of existing compliance assistance materials will be evaluated, and changes or modifications to compliance assistance materials will be made as required to increase effectiveness or to reflect special needs or issues for an industry. (3.2A)
  • DOL will continue examining new methods for increased utilization of technology to enhance program quality, availability, and interaction with the Federal contractor community. (3.2A)
  • Effectiveness of compliance assistance will be measured by comparing compliance evaluation outcomes between industry establishments that received compliance assistance and those that did not. (3.2A)
  • DOL's compliance assistance to assure non-discrimination in financial assistance programs under the Workforce Investment Act has focused on two major cities — Miami and New York. In 2002, statistical data on the number of One-Stop Centers was collected, a compliance review timetable of One-Stop Center reviews developed, and One-Stop Accessibility review guide designed. In 2003, the DOL will conduct technical assistance reviews of a representative sample of One-Stop Centers in New York City and Miami, using the review guide to determine the extent of compliance with Federal laws and regulations on programmatic and physical accessibility for persons with disabilities. Where significant non-compliance is identified, compliance assistance training will be provided to the One-Stop Centers subsequent to the reviews. In 2004, follow-up compliance reviews will be conducted to determine whether barriers identified prior to the compliance assistance training have been addressed. As part of the technical assistance reviews, the Department will identify best practices and establish a repository that will be placed on DOL's website and shared with the DOL financially assisted State-level administered Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs. (3.2B)
  • During 2003, DOL will request that all States provide copies of complaint logs for the entire State. This data will be used to establish baseline data for a longitudinal study on the resolution of complaints to determine the utilization rate of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) over the customary investigation process. (3.2B)
  • Based on the analysis of the method of complaint resolution, in 2003, the Department will provide supplemental ADR training to the One-Stop Centers in the States of New York and Florida on the use of alternative dispute resolution. This compliance assistance is intended to increase skill level of staff responsible for administering the complaint process, and increase the proportion of complaints resolved through ADR to a level greater than the 2002 baseline year. (3.2B)
  • DOL will continue to conduct quality assurance reviews on a sampling of USERRA cases to determine if they are being processed in accordance with established goals. (3.2C)

Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2004:

  • The results and recommendations of the FY 2003 external evaluation will be implemented to increase the effectiveness and success of DOL operations in ensuring in equal employment opportunity among Federal contractors and subcontractors. (3.2A)
  • DOL will conduct follow-up technical assistance reviews where substantive non-compliance areas were identified and compliance assistance provided. (3.2B)
  • As part of its technical assistance reviews, DOL will identify best practices and establish a repository that will be placed on its Civil Rights Center web-site and shred with the DOL financially-assisted State-level administered Workforce Investment Act programs. (3.2B)
  • DOL's Civil Rights Center will continue to work with the Office of Disability Employment Programs to formulate a compliance assistance strategy and plan for joint execution.  (3.2B)
  • The results of the FY 2003 longitudinal study on the number and types of discrimination complaints filed nationwide will be used to define the Civil Rights Center's compliance assistance work plan. (3.2B)
  • DOL will conduct post-training surveys of investigators enforcing USERRA who receive training at the National Veterans Training Institute to determine areas where training can be strengthened. (3.2C)

Outcome Goal 3.3— Reduce Exploitation of Child Labor, Protect The Basic Rights of Workers,
and Strengthen Labor Markets

FY 2004 Performance Goals


Total Funds for This Outcome Goal (in Millions)

 

Fiscal Years

Budget Authority

Outlays*

 

FY 2004

$ 110

 

 

FY 2003

$ 148

$ 203

 

FY 2002

$ 152

$ 131

 

FY 2001

$ 152

$   17

 

FY 2000

$  74

$   64

 

FY 1999

$  47

$   41

*Because of the long-term nature of ILAB's technical assistance, grant funds are expended over 3 to 5 years.  During the period of ILAB's increasing budget authority (mainly in grants), the corresponding increase in outlays does not occur until later years.

A

 Contribute to the elimination of the worst forms of child labor internationally

Number of children prevented or withdrawn from child labor and provided education or training opportunities by DOL-IPEC programs.  Target = 70,000 children. 

Number of countries with increased capacities to address child labor as a result of DOL-IPEC programs funded in prior fiscal years. Target= 15 countries.

Number of Child Labor Education Initiative projects that establish targets for education retention and completion rates in project areas.  Target= 8 projects.

Number of Child Labor Education Initiative projects that establish baseline for rate of enrollment and drop out for targeted children.  Target= 7 projects.

B

Improve living standards and conditions of work internationally

Number and percent of relevant government officials and members and officials of workers' and employers' organizations who are influential in determining living standards and working conditions and participating in USDOL project activities, who consider the project to have improved their conditions of work. Target: Collection of 2 data points and analysis of project trends.

Number and percent of individuals whose economic situation has benefited from USDOL project assistance.   Target:  Collection of 2 data points and analysis of project trends.

Number and percent of workplaces exposed to USDOL project assistance that have implemented new measures to prevent workplace accidents and illnesses.  Target: Collection of 2 data points and analysis of project trends.

Number of workers participating in pension funds that are government regulated by project partner agencies.  Target: Collection of 2 data points and analysis of project trends.

Number of new countries where HIV/AIDS workplace education projects begin.  Target= 3.

Means and Strategies

Operating Agencies:  ILAB

Sustained Efforts in FY 2004:

  • DOL activities in FY2004 will continue to support the implementation of on-going technical assistance projects through the International Labor Organization's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO/IPEC). By the end of FY 2003, DOL have contributed over $202 million to ILO/IPEC.  These funds have supported projects in over 60 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East.  DOL funds to ILO/IPEC have focused on four main areas including; eliminating child labor in specific hazardous occupations, sectors or geographic areas; enabling more countries to effectively participate in ILO/IPEC; conducting statistical surveys on the magnitude and nature of child labor; and increasing public awareness of the issue. In FY 2001, DOL supported the launch of a new IPEC initiative known as the timebound program; designed to be country-owned initiatives, these programs seek to abolish the worst forms of child labor in a five to ten-year time frame. These activities reinforce the ILO's campaign to prioritize action against the worst forms of child labor. (3.3A)
  • Through the Child Labor Education Initiative, DOL will continue to support innovative projects that provide access to basic education as a means to combat child labor.  The Education Initiative will fund projects in additional countries that strengthen the education components of IPEC projects, as well as independent projects that test innovative approaches to improve educational quality and relevance for children removed from child labor.  The projects will be implemented in various regions of the world where child labor is a significant problem.  Among the issues that these projects will address are how to improve remedial and transitional education for children removed from child labor; how to best mainstream children into the formal education system and increase retention rates; how to raise quality and relevance in non-formal and formal education settings; how to provide life skills and school-to-work transitions for children near legal working age; and how to improve the sustainability of these efforts. (3.3A)
  • DOL will continue to conduct research and publish reports dealing with child labor exploitation and techniques for reducing its incidence around the world in order to educate the public and policy-makers. (3.3A)
  • Promote appropriate consideration of core labor standards in each bilateral or multilateral trade agreement. (3.3B) 
  • Identify needs and establish programs for technical assistance, as appropriate, to promote core labor standards in countries that benefit from U.S. trade preference programs. (3.3B)
  • DOL will continue to work to promote improved living standards and conditions of work for workers through strategically targeted technical assistance to key developing and transition countries, albeit with reduced resources.  DOL's partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to assist interested countries to implement core labor standards will continue as will its work to strengthen social safety nets, carried out in partnership with other DOL agencies, and other organizations.  DOL will continue to work closely with U.S. embassies and USAID missions abroad to ensure that DOL's projects are supportive of the broader U.S. Government country strategy and fully complement the assistance efforts of USAID and other USG agencies. (3.3B)
  • DOL will continue to improve its capacity to report on the achievement of its GPRA goal and to monitor and evaluate the performance of its international projects through the systematic collection and reporting of indicator data, and evaluation of projects at their mid-term and conclusion. (3.3B)

  Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2004:

  • With additional funding in FY 2004 for child labor elimination efforts, DOL will expand its support for integrated and effective programs worldwide. Funding will support ILO/IPEC projects in new countries, including a number of timebound programs aimed at eliminating the worst forms of child labor. In addition, DOL will expand its Child Labor Education Initiative to cover additional countries where there is a high incidence of hazardous child labor (3.3A). 
  • To improve and identify future child labor programs and priorities, DOL will draw upon the experiences of a sample of the various types of projects it has funded and compile the most important lessons learned. The lessons will be shared with the broad international development community and will be used to improve and refine decisions on future program funding.  In addition, with ILO/IPEC and other partners, DOL will conduct a series of outreach efforts through which education experts and practitioners will share lessons and experiences gained through DOL-funded projects to educate children removed from child labor.  These activities will help to build networks of educators working on the special challenges of educating children removed from work. Finally, DOL will look to assess the longer-term post-project impact of DOL-funded interventions that address child labor.
  • In FY 2004, DOL's technical cooperation program will continue to place emphasis on supporting the Administration's trade policy agenda.  This will be demonstrated in two ways: 1) by promoting appropriate consideration of core labor standards in each bilateral or multilateral trade agreement negotiated by the United States; and 2) by identifying needs and, on a limited basis, establishing programs for technical assistance, as appropriate, to promote core labor standards in countries that benefit from U.S. trade preference programs.   DOL will work closely with the other main USG agencies involved in international trade policy—United States Trade Representative, and Departments of State, Commerce and Treasury—to carry out this new initiative. (3.3B)

Crosscutting Programs and Issues

DOL works closely with the International Labor Organization (ILO), American Embassies abroad, the Department of State, the Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Commerce, Treasury, and Education to assure that technical assistance in support of our program goals is strategically targeted at the most appropriate countries and to assure coordination and avoid duplication of effort.

On child labor issues, DOL works closely with the ILO's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) to develop projects to reduce the incidence of abusive child labor and develop educational opportunities for children.  In the development of certain projects, DOL works with U.S. and foreign industry, labor representatives and non-governmental organizations to ensure that programs are effective and credible. 

4.4       DOL Strategic Goal 4 — A Competitive Workforce

DOL STRATEGIC GOAL 4

A Competitive Workforce
Maintain Competitiveness in the 21st Century Economy

OUTCOME GOALS:

4.1 Equip workers to adapt to the competitive challenges of the 21st Century
4.2 Promote job flexibility and minimize the regulatory burden

Strategic Goal 4, A Competitive Workforce, is a new goal introduced in the current Department of Labor's FY 2003–2008 Strategic Plan.  Because there are activities and milestones identified for FY 2004, it is included in this Revised Final Annual Performance Plan. 

This goal addresses our country's future economic development and ability to be competitive in a global economy, a condition that is highly dependent on the competitiveness of our workforce.  To succeed, our policies must embrace the emerging changes in our economy — in how we actually work, where we work, what skills we need, and how we balance our professional and family lives. Our challenge is to identify the challenges that lie ahead and tackle these changes proactively to ensure that our programs, regulations, and regulatory processes address contemporary work environment issues and contribute to economic growth.

While employers and workers bear ultimate responsibility for adapting to these challenges, DOL has a leadership responsibility to support the needs of the changing workforce and position the U.S. for continued economic development and growth.  The growing knowledge-based workplace will require a higher level of technical skills creating opportunities for many to succeed, but carrying the potential for some to fall farther behind.  At the same time, an increasingly competitive and global economy will put pressure on our regulatory environment.  Historically, we developed our labor policies and programs under conditions of labor surpluses and based our employment laws and regulations on traditional, full-time, long-term work arrangements.  Over the next two decades, the relevance of these, and other assumptions will be challenged. 

DOL has made significant progress advancing labor issues for many years.  However, for us to provide essential leadership to meet future challenges, we must shift into a more forward-looking role that emphasizes:

  • Monitoring major issues;
  • Coordinating resources;
  • Addressing supply and demand imbalances;
  • Identifying high-growth careers that require some post-secondary education but not four year degrees;
  • Identifying high-growth industries and the career ladders they offer;
  • Fostering a competitive economic environment; and
  • Implementing practical, effective regulations and regulatory approaches.

Support for this goal cuts across many of the DOL agencies.  Primary emphasis comes from agencies supporting training and job placement such as the Employment and Training Administration, Veterans' Employment and Training Service, the Women's Bureau, and the Office of Disability Employment Policy; enforcement agencies involved with regulatory reviews such as the Employment Standards Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Mine Safety and Health Administration, and Employee Benefits Security Administration; statistical support from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and policy support from the Assistant Secretary for Policy.

It should be noted that since FY 2004 is the first year of activity under Outcome Goal 4.1 there are no agency dollars budgeted for activities related to the indicators. DOL will proceed by laying the groundwork and establishing the approach needed to implement the Goal 4.1 system in FY 2005. As such, the current year steps will be predominately “process-oriented.”  While Goal 4.2 does include ongoing activities, there was no specific budget allocation to the outcome goal during the budget formulation.

The FY 2004 outcome and performance goals for this strategic goal follow. Detailed information on every performance goal, including indicator, data source, baseline and explanatory comments, can be found in Appendix A.

Outcome Goal 4.1—Equip Workers to Adapt to the Competitive Challenges of the 21st Century

FY 2004 Performance Goals

A

Analyze information collection and research programs for relevance.

In Program Year 2004:

Inventory research and major data programs within DOL.

Analyze research for relevance in identifying emerging workforce issues and identify any significant information gaps.

Identify emerging workforce issues.

B

Address worker shortage.

In Program Year 2004:  Identify key occupations in which there is substantial evidence of difficulties in finding sufficient supplies of qualified workers.

C

Build a demand-driven workforce system.

In Program Year 2004:
Determine baselines for the following goals:

Increase the numbers of firms served in high-growth industries by x percent

Increase the numbers of individuals employed in high-growth industries by x percent

Increase the number of individuals trained and employed in high-growth industries by x percent

Retention Rate of those individuals employed in high-growth industries (i.e. for three quarters after exiting the program as described in the common measures for job training programs).

Percentage of participants attaining a degree or certificate in post-secondary education and skills training in those occupations experiencing skills shortages in high-growth industries.

Means and Strategies

Operating Agencies: ETA, BLS, ASP

Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2004:

Many of the Outcome Goal 4.1 challenges will impact the Nation more significantly in the years beyond FY 2004.  Therefore, our performance goals in this section reflect a departure from those in other sections of the plan by targeting objectives that will position DOL to effectively support the workforce in the major transitions we will face in future decades, rather than near-term, quantifiable outcomes. A list of significant new efforts and strategies is provided below:

  • DOL will utilize an internal workgroup to coordinate and monitor the FY 2004 activities for Outcome Goal 4.1 and develop the long-term plans for accomplishing Outcome Goal 4.1. Participants include: ETA, BLS, and ASP (4.1A,B&C).
  • DOL will explore the types of industry information (Demand), workforce skill competency information (Supply), and macroeconomic information that are available for informing the emerging workforce issues' discussion (4.1A).
  • DOL will seek to improve communication and collaboration among businesses, workers and training providers.  To be effective we need to break down the traditional informational, organizational, institutional, and other barriers among businesses, educators, and workers and help form cooperative efforts among all three major stakeholders.  To this end, DOL will 1) actively partner with businesses to design innovative programs and strategies that directly address business' needs for new and replacement workers across a variety of industries and services, 2) help workers recognize and address the need to keep pace with increasing skill requirements, and 3) bring together industry and training providers so that providers are attuned to current and future market demands (4.1C).
  • DOL will begin to develop the parameters for defining high-growth industries and occupations. Baselines for the high-growth industry and occupation indicators will be developed (4.1C).

Cross-Cutting Programs and Issues

Our success in the years ahead will largely depend on the ability of our programs and strategies to target and meet the needs of business for new and highly skilled workers.  To this end, the Department will take a leadership role in pursuing a comprehensive set of strategies designed to develop an early warning system of labor issues and marshalling public and private resources to prepare the Nation to address future challenges.

Having a competitive workforce requires a comprehensive, coordinated, focused strategy that integrates the efforts of multiple government agencies.  Issues such as the transition from school to work, tax incentives for business investment in worker training, and the use of foreign labor involve policies and strategies that cut across various Departments and agencies.  A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Education to better bridge the gap between school and the skill demands of the workplace, and an MOU underway with the Department of Health and Human Services to address the nursing shortages are representative of our future direction.  A MOU with the Social Security Administration (SSA) utilizes the DOL-funded Employer Assistance Referral Network (EARN) to implement a nationwide disability employment service for people with disabilities, Ticket-To-Hire, that facilitates employment outcomes for SSA's Ticket-To-Work and Self-Sufficiency Program.  A recently executed MOU between DOL and the Department of Defense (DOD) calls for extending the delivery of transition assistance workshops to a number of overseas military bases.  A provision within this MOU seeks to exploit new and emerging learning technologies that support interagency activities of recruitment, retention, and re-entry for military personnel and their spouses.  For example, consistent with this new MOU, DOL has initiated development of a Veterans' Electronic One-Stop that will apply emerging technology to provide active military service members and those transitioning to civilian careers with a broad range of services formerly dependent upon human intervention.  In addition, DOL is working closely with the Department of Commerce on establishing closer linkages between economic and workforce development. As we identify more strategic issues, we will heighten our efforts to pursue crosscutting opportunities to leverage the power of multiple agencies to solve specific workforce development issues

Outcome Goal 4.2—Promote Job Flexibility and Minimize Regulatory Burden

FY 2004 Performance Goals

A

Maximize regulatory flexibility and benefits and promote flexible workplace programs

1) Wage and hour, worker safety, pension and health care regulations, to the greatest extent practicable, are performance-based and provide maximum flexibility to employers in developing a compliance approach.

  • FY 2004:  Seek input from the public as part of its decision-making process in determining which regulations or regulatory programs should be prioritized for review for their effects on small businesses and entities

2) New and current regulations maximize net benefits.  Regulations that impose greater societal costs than benefits are revised or eliminated, consistent with applicable governing statutes

  • FY 2004:  Ensure that all new regulatory proposals identify monetary costs, benefits, and net benefits, and include a summary of this information in all Regulatory Impact Analyses performed by DOL agencies.

3) DOL ensures compliance with its regulations in the most cost-effective manner.  Non-cost-effective practices are modified or eliminated, consistent with governing statutes. 

  • FY 2004:  Develop plan to review all significant regulations for maximum flexibility in their reporting and record keeping requirements in order to assess whether DOL agencies are allowing the use of electronic technology by employers where practicable.

4) Best practices for, and models of, flexible workplace practices are identified and publicized. FY 2004:  Develop best-practices studies.

  • The Flex-Options for Women Project—Women-owned businesses will enhance their work forces/businesses by offering workplace flexible policies and programs that encourage a balance between home and work-life. The Women's Bureau will enlist 40 companies as corporate mentors and 80 women-owned businesses as companies seeking to establish workplace flexibility policies or programs.

Means and Strategies

Operating Agencies: DOL-wide

Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2004:

  • The performance goals related to this outcome of promoting job flexibility and minimizing regulatory burden while protecting workers center around taking a comprehensive and strategic approach toward our ability to influence the work environment and implement a new regulatory infrastructure.  Many of the goals represent key steps in analyzing the changes needed and are therefore more output oriented during the current strategic planning cycle.  Outcome-oriented performance goals will be developed after new policies and programs have been implemented based on the results of the proposed evaluations. 
  • Many employment laws and regulations were written in the 1970's and were based on, among other things, traditional on-site, full-time, long-term employment relationships between workers and employers.  Over the next several years, DOL will conduct a comprehensive review of the key laws and regulations governing labor standards, employer sponsored pension and health benefits, and worker safety to determine their appropriateness in the new workplace and pursue needed changes. 
  • Our regulatory approaches need to fully achieve their objectives of protecting worker rights, benefits, and safety while minimizing regulatory burdens that can impede the productivity and competitiveness of the Nation's businesses.  Over the past several years we have made strides in: 1) shifting our emphasis toward compliance assistance through outreach, education, and innovative programs designed to prevent violations; 2) targeting our enforcement efforts to address the most egregious problems; and, 3) expanding electronic options for employers to meet their reporting obligations.  Over the next several years, we will analyze the effectiveness of this overarching strategy, seek ways to build upon the successes, exploit technology to improve our effectiveness and reduce regulatory burden, and take other steps necessary to ensure that our regulatory infrastructure is consistent with the 21st Century work environment.
  • The Department will conduct a review of its regulatory reporting and record keeping requirements in order to assess whether its agencies are allowing the use of electronic technology by employers where practicable.  The goal of this assessment it to ensure that, where possible, current technology is employed in such a way that minimizes compliance burden, facilitates compliance and is responsive to the needs of the regulated community for flexible reporting alternatives. 
  • It is well documented that small businesses are the catalyst for economic growth.  In the past, DOL agencies have periodically selected particular regulatory provisions for review to determine their effects on this important sector of the U.S. economy.  In FY 2004 the Department will seek input from the public as part of its decision-making process in determining which regulations or regulatory programs should be prioritized for review for their effects on small businesses and entities.
  • To help workers achieve balance between their work and home life, DOL will support a range of initiatives that provide greater workplace flexibility.  DOL agencies will engage with States, and private-sector stakeholders to determine best practices and other ways in which DOL programs can contribute to improvements in how employers and employees can shape the national work environment to the needs of workers, their families, and the needs of national economic growth.  Key initiatives will include support for telecommuting, dependent care, and flexible work schedules.  One example: the Women's Bureau will focus on women business owners who are interested in implementing practical solutions to help America's workers balance their many commitments. The Bureau will engage women business owners in virtual forums using an interactive web site, conference calls, and web casts; provide opportunities for women business owners to interact with corporate executives to obtain support and information about effective implementation of flexible work policies; and develop “How-To Manuals” that include workplace flexibility best practices cases. 

Cross-Cutting Programs and Issues

The performance indicators to be developed in this outcome goal fall under a wide range of DOL agencies — enforcement and non-enforcement — under the leadership of the Assistant Secretary for Policy. 

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