Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC office, was quoted in Law360 Employment Authority, in “DOL Wage Recoveries Drop to Decade's Lowest,” by Max Kutner. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division in the final months of the Trump administration and first several months of the Biden administration recovered the lowest amount of back wages for workers in a decade, a decrease the agency and observers attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data the DOL recently published for fiscal year 2021, which spanned October 2020 to September 2021, showed that the Wage and Hour Division recovered $24 million less in back wages in fiscal year 2021 compared to 2020, for a total of $234 million. The amount was the lowest since 2011, according to the data. …

Paul DeCamp of management-side firm Epstein Becker Green, who oversaw the Wage and Hour Division during the George W. Bush administration, said it made sense that the numbers decreased during the pandemic, when the agency would have had difficulty conducting investigations and fewer Americans were working.

"Overall, it's less work happening, and when there's less work happening, there tend to be fewer wage and hour violations," DeCamp said. "I think that as we come out of the pandemic, we will see unemployment decrease, and we will see more people in the workforce actively working, and I think we'll see these numbers at the Wage and Hour Division kick up again."

DeCamp said the numbers also seemed to reflect normal fluctuations, especially after the 2019 recoveries amount, which was the highest in more than two decades.

"There are always ups and downs in the enforcement numbers from year to year," DeCamp said. "Sometimes those fluctuations from year to year largely reflect the presence of a small number of large settlements. Those can skew the numbers up or down."


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