DOL Unveils New Sources for Plan Sponsors

June 17, 2002 ( - Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao has rolled out some new initiatives designed to help plan sponsors - particularly smaller employers - successfully navigate what she called "the regulatory jungle."

“We are going to help make sense of the regulatory jungle that small business owners have to comply with, because that is the best way to make worker protections work,” said Chao. “There is a new culture of responsibility being built at the Department of Labor — a responsibility for us to help business owners understand our exhaustive list of regulations.”

New Tools

At a speech before the National Federation of Independent Business, Chao announced the following creation of the following:

  • a new, permanent, senior position at the Department of Labor — a Director of Compliance Assistance, who will ensure that all of the Department’s agencies are doing all they can to help employers comply with regulations
  • the creation of a new office at OSHA dedicated to small business
  • the public availability of the Field Operations handbook of the Wage and Hour division, the guide that tells inspectors what to look for in businesses
  • a new toll-free information line (1-866-4-USA-DOL) for plan sponsors to gain answers to questions about laws dealing with pay and leave, workplace safety, health and pension benefits, and veterans’ reemployment rights.

The DOL also has information available online at its E-Laws Web site ( ), with frequently asked questions and links to all Department of Labor agencies and regional offices.

Chao acknowledged that the primary focus of the new policy would be on small business, since larger companies are more likely to have in-house attorneys, human resources specialists, and accountants to track and ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

“The idea that the government ought to provide small businesses with the knowledge and tools to help people comply with its regulations should be a top priority of the Department of Labor, and it is an idea whose time has come,” said Chao.