|October 8, 2008|
DOL Annual Report, Fiscal Year
November 15, 2007
I am pleased to submit the ninth annual Department of Labor Performance and Accountability Report to Congress and the American people. This is the first opportunity to report progress under our FY 2006-2011 Strategic Plan, which articulates the Department's program performance priorities, strategies, and targets for the years ahead and identifies four strategic goals that serve as the basis of this annual report:
President's Management Agenda
Preparing Workers for New Opportunities
The workforce investment system is expanding its work with employers in high-growth, high-demand industries, including collaborations with large multi-State employers. These partnerships help to identify the workforce needs of high-growth industries and provide a forum for improved communication between industry and the workforce investment system. To further address the need for in-demand skills, the Department eliminated a backlog of approximately 363,000 applications in the permanent foreign worker certification program over the last three years.
Protecting Workers' Safety and Health, Pay, Benefits, and Union Dues
The passage of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006 the most significant mine safety legislation in nearly 30 years provides the Department new tools to better ensure miner safety. The Mine Safety and Health Administration has vigorously implemented this legislation to better protect miners.
In protecting the economic security of workers, the Department reached its compliance and discrimination rate targets for audited Federal contractors while union criminal investigations leading to prosecutions resulted in more than $30 million in court-ordered restitution. The Department released the first-ever regulations implementing, clarifying, and streamlining the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA. These regulations and other Departmental efforts, which help protect the jobs and benefits of citizen-soldiers while on active duty, led to a decrease in claims of prohibited personnel practices by four percent from the previous year, based on preliminary reports.
Workers' compensation claims were processed with greater efficiency without sacrificing the quality of decisions. The Department successfully eliminated 100 percent of the backlog of Energy Employee Occupational Illness cases inherited from the Department of Energy. In addition, the rate of change in medical costs for injured Federal workers remained below the national average for the fifth consecutive year.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is now trustee of some 3,800 terminated plans, managing an asset portfolio in excess of $55 billion. Effective management of this diverse portfolio is critical; 650,000 retirees and beneficiaries with trusteed plans were receiving benefits and 525,000 other participants had earned benefits. The Department is working with PBGC to develop strategies and measures focused on their long-term financial challenge to support the Administration's commitment to safeguarding the pension insurance program.
Program Data and Financial Systems
Last year, DOL implemented data quality assessments to continue efforts in effective performance management and transparent reporting. These assessments promote continuous improvement in performance goal data by applying additional criteria beyond adequacy, such as data accuracy, validity, and timeliness. Based on such criteria, the Department's data quality is rated Very Good or Excellent on a five point scale for more than half of the data presented in this report. Program performance data quality, assessment of internal controls pursuant to the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) and compliance of financial management systems with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996 (FFMIA) are discussed in greater detail in the Management's Discussion and Analysis section of this report.
Elaine L. Chao