Business continuity planners and PS-Prep program compliance strategy team members in enterprise organizations may potentially ignore the risk management issues surrounding the 2011 enforcement plans of the Department of Labor.

To bring this potential risk mitigation dynamic to the attention of those business continuity compliance and management teams, we turn to a recent article written by a contributing writer for this website, Ms. Amy E. Hutchens, JD, CCEP.  The article Ms. Hutchens wrote is entitled “Pay Now or Pay Later: Wage-and-Hour Enforcement Outlook for 2011“, and published in the Feb 2011 issue of the Compliance & Ethics Professional publication of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE).

In this article, Ms. Hutchens makes the point that the Department of Labor (DOL) has set forth its initiatives and goals in its Strategic Plan for 2011-2016, and, brings our attention to a quote by Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis where she emphasized, “…make no mistake, the DOL is back in the enforcement business”.

Now this website has always taken the position that there are many areas of an organization’s operations where potential risk may involve an economic penalty or disruptive event that could challenge that organization’s ability to survive and overcome so that the organization still maintains its ability to “keep its doors open for business” moving beyond the consequences of that event.  The larger the organization the more likely that survival of the business will occor — however, the smaller that business, the more likely the potential for damage to that organization.  With this thought in mind, we believe some of the issues raised in Ms. Hutchens’ article deserve to be read, evaluated as potential risks to your business, and, if necessary be further explored and added to your organization’s list of risks to address in 2011.

To be more specific, some of the issues raised in Ms. Hutchens’ article address the following areas;

1.  The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of DOL focus on overtime violations

2.  The WHD of DOL focus on low-wage workers in “fissured” industries …(Fissured industries are those in which the presence of subcontracts and independent contracts make violations more prevalent due to the blurred relationship of employee and employer.)

3.  The WHD plans to engage in an unprecedented outreach program called “We Can Help” to reach vulnerable workers, including those who are young, foreign, or in low-wage industries.

4.  WHD will also use this “We Can Help” program to identify employers in violation of the requirements of the H2B visa status, and,

5.  DOL will initiate regulations that require employers to assemble plans, create processes, and designate individuals charged with the responsibility of achieving compliance to these requirements.

Without doubt it appears that the stage is set for wage-and-hour enforcement.  Is your organization aware of this issue?   And, if so, what do you know is being done to address this additional regulatory compliance challenge?

We encourage you to read this article by Ms. Hutchens — click on the link below to do so….

CEP_0211_Hutchens DOL 2011 Plan

And if applicable, please pass this information along to those business continuity, risk management or PS-Prep compliance planning team members in your organization.

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