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Wage and Hour Division

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Deputy Administrator, Wage and Hour Division
Laura A. Fortman

Laura A. Fortman, Deputy Administrator, Wage and Hour Division

Laura Fortman serves as the Deputy Administrator for the Wage and Hour Division (WHD). Her appointment at the Department of Labor in June of 2013 included leading the agency for nearly a year until the Administrator was sworn into office.

The Wage and Hour Division enforces laws establishing our nation’s most fundamental labor standards, including requirements for minimum wage, payment of overtime, prohibitions on child labor, the right to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, worker protections in immigration-related provisions, such as our H-visa programs, and government contracting programs. These laws, enacted by Congress, protect over 135 million workers in more than 7.3 million establishments throughout the United States and its territories.

Ms.Fortman brings 20 years of public policy and advocacy expertise at the local, state, and federal levels. As Deputy Administrator she provides critical leadership and guidance in the development of key policy and regulatory projects that have impacted the lives of millions of working men and women around the country. In addition, she provides oversight of WHD’s work with stakeholder and coalition groups from around the country.

She has guided the development, implementation, and external communication/outreach of:

  • WHD’s issuance of a final rule updating the overtime regulations, which will extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation.
  • WHD’s issuance of a final rule for implementing and enforcing the minimum wage protections of Executive Order 13658 to raise the hourly minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour for workers employed on or in connection with covered federal contracts.
  • WHD’s issuance of a final rule that extended the Family and Medical Leave Act’s definition of spouse to same-sex married couples regardless of where they reside.
  • WHD’s issuance of a final rule extending the minimum wage and overtime protections to nearly 2 million of the nation’s direct care workers who provide essential home care assistance to elderly people and people with illnesses, injuries, or disabilities.

Ms. Fortman also oversaw significant changes to WHD’s subminimum wage provision for workers with disabilities in order to prevent the curtailment of opportunities for employment of individuals with disabilities.

Ms. Fortman has made a career of protecting vulnerable workers, from her time as the Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Lobby and Maine Women’s Policy Center to her Chairing of the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification. Her many leadership positions also include serving on the Board of Directors for the National Employment Law Project, Chair of the Governor of Maine’s Workforce Cabinet, and being a member of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

Prior to this appointment, Fortman spent almost eight years as the Commissioner of Labor for Maine.