Department of Labor

The Federal Budget


Media contact: 202-693-4676
FY2012 Request:  $12.8 billion
FY2011 Request:  $14 billion
FY2010 Enacted:  $13.5 billion

The Department of Labor (DOL) is charged with promoting the welfare of workers, job seekers, and retirees, which are key Administration priorities as our economy continues to recover and we work toward strengthening America’s competitive edge globally. The Department’s budget reflects the need to make sacrifices in many areas in order to invest in job creation and boost competitiveness for years to come. Accordingly, the President’s Budget provides $12.8 billion for DOL, a 5 percent reduction from the 2010 enacted level. To support effective job training programs, the Budget shifts resources from an underutilized portion of formula grants for states to a new Workforce Innovation Fund. Savings and efficiencies are achieved through a reduction in funding for the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which is transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services; and through a 25 percent reduction in the Job Corps construction budget. The Budget increases funding for worker protection and mine safety programs that were underfunded in the previous administration and are critical to Americans’ health and safety.

Invests in a Competitive Workforce

  • Invests almost $380 million in the Departments of Labor and Education for a competitive Workforce Innovation Fund to encourage new approaches to job training.  Competitive grants will support bold, systemic reforms of the workforce system, including breaking down silos between programs and paying programs for success.  
  • Supports reform of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which authorizes nearly $10 billion for programs that match unemployed workers with jobs and help workers upgrade their skills to compete in the global economy.

Achieves Efficiencies and Reduces Future Liabilities

  • Because difficult choices had to be made in order to invest in programs that would yield the highest returns, the Budget cuts the Senior Community Service Employment Program by $375 million or 45 percent compared to 2010 enacted, and transfers it to the Department of Health and Human Services to improve coordination with other programs for seniors.  The Budget also cuts the Job Corps construction budget to offset higher operations costs.
  • Provides short-term relief for businesses in States with indebted Unemployment Insurance (UI) systems, coupled with opportunities for States to improve the long-term solvency of their systems so they can repay their debts and provide adequate benefits when they are needed.  In addition, the Budget provides $70 million for program integrity activities and proposes legislation to give States additional tools to reduce improper payments and employer tax evasion.
  • Safeguards workers’ pensions by encouraging companies to fully fund their employees' promised pension benefits and assuring the long-term solvency of the Federal pension insurance system.  To ensure that these reforms are undertaken responsibly during challenging economic times, the Budget calls for two years of study and public comment before implementation and gradual phasing in of any increases.  This proposal is estimated to save $16 billion over the next decade. 

Protects American Workers and Provides Relief During Recovery from Economic Recession

  • Maintains strong support for worker protection with $1.8 billion for the Department’s worker protection agencies, putting them on sound footing to protect the health, safety, wages, and working conditions, and retirement security of the nation’s workforce. The Budget provides targeted increases to protect the safety and health of miners, detect and deter the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, and enhance protections for whistleblowers.
  • Assists families who need to take time off to care for a child or other loved one by supporting a $23 million competitive State Paid Leave Fund to help States launch paid leave programs.  
  • Creates new opportunities to save for retirement by establishing a system of automatic workplace pensions and doubling the small employer pension plan start-up credit.
  • Expands the use of work-sharing, allowing firms to retain workers by reducing employees' weekly hours, instead of having to lay them off; and gives workers a partial unemployment check to supplement their reduced paycheck.