Bloomberg News

Obama Seeks Consolidation of Jobs Programs in Labor Agency Cuts

February 15, 2012

(For further information on the budget, see BUDG <GO>)

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama has proposed a consolidation of job-creation programs as part of his 2013 Labor Department budget, which would see a 4 percent reduction.

Spending for Labor Department discretionary programs would drop to $12 billion from $12.5 billion in 2011, the last time agencies had an enacted budget, according to Obama’s budget released today. Spending would rise for worker-protection programs.

The savings reflect elimination of overlapping job-training programs and consolidation of regional offices. The budget increases funding for agencies that protect worker wages, benefits, health and safety and invests in detecting employer misclassification of workers as independent contractors. Labor unions back efforts to crack down on incorrect classification, which lets companies avoid paying overtime and benefits.

The budget ends funding for a program called Women in Apprenticeship in Non-Traditional Occupations. The Labor Department said it can meet the goal of the program in other ways. It also ends funding for the Veterans Workforce Investment Program.

The budget proposes to change the federal Jobs Corp program, which helps train low-income young people. The agency will close some low-performing Jobs Corp offices. “The program could be more effective and efficient,” the Labor Department said in the budget proposal.

The budget includes an additional $5 million over the 2012 spending for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s whistle-blower protection program. It also provides a $6 million increase for the Wage and House division of the Labor Department for intensified enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

--Editors: Steve Geimann, Jon Morgan

To contact the reporter on this story: Holly Rosenkrantz in Washington at hrosenkrantz@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net


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