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. Our plain writing webpage includes an overview of the law, a summary of the Department's goals, and plain language contact information.

We had multiple plain language achievements in fiscal year (FY) 2021.

Agency Activities and Accomplishments

  • In FY 2021, with support from new Departmental leadership, we started developing an internal directive/memo advising agency heads to encourage staff to use plain language principles in their work and providing guidance and resources.
  • We continue to implement the recommendations of the Office of Compliance Initiatives' (OCI) comprehensive review of the Department's enforcement agencies' compliance assistance materials and tools to determine whether they are current, easily accessible, and understandable.
  • We continue to support a working group to review agency material and develop resources. The working group met regularly to discuss plain language efforts, create resources, review material, and host internal and external speakers. The working group is now the Department's internal body of subject matter experts available to support agencies in the development of their compliance assistance, outreach, and other written materials.
  • We continue to host an intranet page with information and resources on plain language for all staff.
  • We continue to promote and share our one-page plain language quick reference guide to all staff through our new plain language intranet page. The reference guide is easy to use and provides plain language tips and resources at a glance.
  • An internal subject matter expert provided plain language training in 2021, covering all of the main plain language principles, examples, and resources.
  • All new employees take a mandatory online plain language training within 90 days of starting their position. In FY 2021, 1090 new Department employees nationwide completed the training and received a completion certificate.
  • We revamped the online plain language training previously offered to only new employees. The training is currently in the final approval stages with the Department's LearningLink team. The goal for FY 2022 is that the training will become mandatory for all employees annually.
  • We explored the possibility of adding a plain language component to the annual Secretary's Honor Award for Innovation. This would allow managers and supervisors to nominate employees and teams for plain language excellence. We are working toward the approval of the award category during FY 2022 and believe it will lead to increased use of plain language principles and enthusiastic participation in training and other initiatives.


Each year, the Center for Plain Language evaluates federal agencies for compliance with the Plain Writing Act.

In 2021, the Center for Plain Language graded and then averaged two online pages from each agency:

  • The main FOIA request page and;
  • The main Coronavirus page, which it also graded last year.

The evaluation scores include two categories. We received an A+ in organizational compliance, which consists of staffing, training, and annual reporting required by law. We received a C+ in writing quality, focusing on how easy it is for the public to find, understand, and use the information it needs.