The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to write "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use."
The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to complying with the law. The Department has established a plain writing website that includes an overview of the law and its requirements, documents that are covered, and timeframes associated with compliance with the law.
Plain Language Coordinators
There are Plain Language Coordinators in each agency. These coordinators are responsible for ensuring each agency's compliance with the Act's requirements and answering questions from the public about their agencies documents or plain writing practices. In addition, general questions about the Department's implementation of the Plain Writing Act can be addressed to the Department's Senior Plain Language Official.
Plain Language Training
In 2012, the Department began requiring that all new employees take the training within 90-days of joining the Department and that all employees take an on-line plain writing training. By July 31, 2012, over 85% of the Department's employees and contractors had taken the training and received a Plain Writing Education and Training Certificate. In 2016, the Department once again offered plain language training to all (permanent and contractor) employees. By April 29, 2016, over 85% of the Department's employees and contractors had taken the training and received a Plain Writing Education and Training Certificate. The Department continues to offer plain language training to all new employees.
For review year 2019, the Department has arranged for an instructor, through the PLAIN Program at the General Services Administration, to provide Plain Language "train the trainer" instructor training to Department staff.
The Department of Labor received an A on the 2017 Federal Plain Language Report Card for Writing and Information Design and a grade of B- for Data Infographics. The Center for Plain Language evaluates whether or not federal agencies' writing styles fulfill the Plain Writing Act of 2010. Twenty-one federal agencies submitted a public form and instructions with the Center for Plain Language and they evaluated the forms and instructions based on:
- Overall effectiveness
- Understanding the audience
- Manner or voice
- Writing style
- Structure and navigation information design and presentation
- Pictures, graphics, and charts (if applicable)
The Department received kudos from the reviewers for their FAQ pages.