|October 19, 2008|
DOL Annual Report, Fiscal Year
Strategic Goal 3: Quality Workplaces
Foster Quality Workplaces that are Safe, Healthy and Fair
All workers are entitled to safe, healthy, and fair workplace environments. The Department has committed to achieving this goal by promoting practices that minimize safety and health hazards and provide equal opportunities for workers. In recent history, significant progress has been made in these areas. However, rapid technological advances and dynamic workplace environments have changed the nature of work, leading to new challenges for our safety and health mission. DOL promotes equal employment opportunity by enforcing regulations that deal with Federal contracting practices and the reemployment rights of veterans. In recognition of the global nature of labor markets, DOL also promotes respect for internationally recognized core labor standards. Agencies with programs supporting this goal are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Employment Standards Administration (ESA), the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), and the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB).
The Department's performance in achieving Quality Workplaces is determined by accomplishments organized at the outcome goal level and measured at the performance goal level. Three broad objectives Outcome Goals 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 support Strategic Goal 3, and they contain six performance goals (see table below). In FY 2005, the Department achieved two of these goals, substantially achieved one and did not achieve three. Results, though clearly not meeting expectations in all cases, were more positive than negative. Fatalities occurred slightly more frequently than in the prior year, but overall injury and illness incidence rates continued to fall. For the fourth straight year, based on preliminary data, the United States mining industry set its best safety record since such statistics were first compiled in 1910. MSHA did not meet its target to establish three additional mining safety and health measures two for noise exposure and one for silica exposure. These baselines will be established in December 2005, using FY 2005 data. Illegal discrimination by contractors remained very rare, and veterans' cases were resolved timely despite increased volume and complexity of complaints due to reserve mobilizations connected with the war in Iraq. DOL-funded international labor programs continued to demonstrate success by, for example, removing thousands of children from exploitation and improving work conditions for the vast majority of those targeted for assistance.
The following charts illustrate DOL's strategic goal net costs in FY 2005, with Quality Workplaces shares set apart. The first allocates total Departmental costs of $49.912 billion; the second allocates an adjusted net cost of $12.222 billion that excludes major non-discretionary items associated with Strategic Goal 2.23 Net costs of this goal in FY 2004 were $1.021 billion.
The outcome goals and programs listed above, along with their results, costs, and future challenges are discussed in more detail on the following pages.
23The excluded costs are referred to as Income Maintenance unemployment benefit payments to individuals who are laid off or out of work and seeking employment ($31.488 billion) plus disability benefit payments to individuals who suffered injury or illness on the job ($5.936 billion).
The Department's two occupational safety and health agencies the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) are doing more than ever to create opportunities for employers to work with them in partnerships and other cooperative relationships. In these innovative relationships, the Department is helping more workplaces become safer and more productive.
For example, OSHA's Strategic Partnership Program, OSHA and its partners agree to work cooperatively to address critical safety and health issues. This innovative approach is proving to be an effective tool for reducing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace. Working together, OSHA, employers, and employees identify the most crucial safety and health problems to address and craft a Partnership agreement that may be national, regional or local in scope. Partners agree upon individual responsibilities, identify strategies, and establish goals and performance measures to verify results. Other interested parties, including unions, trade associations, local/state governments, OSHA's free on-site consultation projects, and insurance companies, are often brought into a Partnership to contribute expertise and resources. The Partnership program, like all of OSHA's cooperative programs, makes efficient use of taxpayer dollars by leveraging non-OSHA resources to accomplish tasks such as training employees, mentoring, creating compliance materials and developing site-appropriate safety and health management systems.
MSHA also has achieved success through developing strategic partnerships with unions, associations, and State governments. These partnerships foster the sharing of expertise and best practices between MSHA, States, safety professionals, and mine operators. In addition MSHA works cooperatively with the mining industry, labor, and the States to encourage innovation. For example, MSHA is working to prevent hearing loss by working collaboratively with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Coal Noise Partnership. Together, they are developing noise control solutions for the coal mining industry's most pervasive noise problems and promoting the identification and investigation of promising noise control technologies. MSHA is also developing mechanisms and opportunities to promote innovations in noise control engineering and distributing outreach materials to transfer knowledge to mine operations experiencing noise compliance challenges.
The performance goals related to this outcome goal directly measure reductions in workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities, across general industries and specifically within mining.
Both agencies employ strategies that aim to reduce all injuries and illnesses, especially those that are life-threatening, and focus compliance assistance and enforcement efforts on the most hazardous industries and practices. OSHA credits its success in reducing injury and illness rates in part to its Voluntary Protection Programs joint efforts of OSHA, employers and employees and to Site-Specific Targeting, a key enforcement strategy that identifies individual employers with the highest injury and illness rates. MSHA has made significant contributions toward continued reduction of mine industry injuries and fatalities by implementing strategies that alter employer and worker behaviors to create safer, healthier work conditions.
Net Cost of Programs
OSHA, in response to the Program Assessment Rating Tool review in FY 2002, continues to review its regulatory process in an attempt to make it as efficient as possible. Also, OSHA is exploring tools that will enable rapid response and more accurate targeting of investigation and enforcement activities.
For FY 2006, MSHA's initiatives, programs and strategies will continue to focus on prevention. The general challenge for mine safety is that coal production and perhaps mining of aggregates will continue to grow and lead to an increased number of inexperienced operators and miners who will need assistance understanding and learning how to mitigate safety and health risks.
24As the same activities contribute to reductions in both injuries and fatalities, costs are not separable between the fatality reduction performance goal (3.1A) and the injury/illness reduction performance goal (3.1B).
Reduce Occupational Fatalities
Reduce work-related fatalities
The nature of the work environment is continually changing as our nation's thriving economy creates demand for workers in new sectors of the economy. A booming construction sector and expanding use of cell phones and High Definition Television (HDTV) and wireless communications are trends that influence the potential for fatal workplace falls. With increased demand for coal and aggregates, new mines are being opened and existing ones expanded. Mines continue to be inherently hazardous workplaces. Unseen geologic instabilities, constantly changing terrain, and the prevalence of large and complex haulage and mining equipment are only a few of the factors that make maintaining mine safety challenging.
OSHA's and MSHA's resource outlays correlate with their missions and they adjust strategies and emphases as the circumstances change. OSHA contributes to reducing on-the-job deaths by intervening at workplaces where it has evidence that fatalities are most likely to occur and by responding to reports of potentially life-threatening workplace hazards. MSHA's enabling legislation requires that the agency inspect underground mines four times per year and surface mines two times a year. Both OSHA and MSHA analyze fatalities to identify emerging fatality patterns and to determine where best to conduct interventions. Even though fatality rates have been declining over the long term, we must drive them even lower. OSHA's and MSHA's aggressive long-term targeted fatality rate reductions reflect their commitment to send workers and miners home healthy and safe every day.
Analysis and Future Plans
Refinements to fatality data collection methods are ongoing. DOL conducts quarterly reviews of performance against its strategic goals and remains committed to reducing fatalities through strong and fair enforcement, the provision of outreach, education and compliance assistance, and the promotion of cooperative programs.
The table below shows annual deaths, employment, and fatality rates for the construction industry and for all private industry covered by OSHA, and illustrate use of a three-year moving average of fatality rates to smooth year-to-year fluctuations.
DOL's efforts to reduce fatalities often directly correlate to its injury and illness reduction objectives. Decreasing exposures to occupational hazards through direct intervention, promoting a safety and health culture, and maximizing effectiveness and efficiency are all goals that guide OSHA's tactical plan. OSHA analyzes trend data to identify and target new areas of emphasis which increases the impact of its direct intervention activities. This approach led OSHA to target its resources strategically on five national emphasis programs and over 140 local emphasis programs that address the safety and health issues that present the greatest current threats to safety. Based on extensive analysis, OSHA has also selected seven priority industries for special focus, both in terms of enforcement and compliance assistance.
The U.S. workforce includes 19.9 million Hispanics and that number is growing. Workplace fatalities among Hispanics increased every year from 1995 to 2001. To address this trend, OSHA initiated its Hispanic Outreach effort in 2001. The initiative provides training and local outreach, disseminates Spanish-language publications and electronic tools, and works through its cooperative programs to significantly expand outreach to Hispanic workers and businesses. Fatalities dropped each of the first three years of OSHA's Hispanic Outreach undertaking, but increased again in 2004. OSHA continues to pursue its outreach efforts and will identify new approaches for reducing deaths and injuries among Hispanic workers.
Preliminary data for the third quarter of FY 2005 indicates that MSHA exceeded its target for reducing the fatality injury incidence rate among miners. Accidents in the Nation's mines claimed the lives of 40 workers 16 coal miners and 24 metal/nonmetal miners. For the fourth straight year, the United States mining industry set its best safety records for both fatal and non-fatal injury incidence since statistics were first compiled in 1910. This tremendous progress is a direct result of the diligence and commitment of miners, mine operators, and the employees of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, who together ensure that mines are increasingly safe places to work. While we are proud of the progress the industry has made, MSHA is constantly examining its strategies and looking at outcomes to determine how we can help the mining industry drive fatality, injury and illness rates down to zero.
For FY 2006, MSHA will continue to gear its initiatives, programs and strategies aimed specifically at fostering a culture of prevention, instilling safety as a core value, and making safety part of every task in the mining workplace. This includes strategies targeted at changing the behaviors and working conditions which contribute to injuries and fatalities. MSHA's highly effective blend of enforcement, compliance assistance, technical support, education and training constitute a balanced approach to mine safety and health.
MSHA's collaborative approach of building strategic alliances with trade associations, labor unions, professional societies and other like-minded organizations leverages the advantages of working together, rather than separately, to reach our common health and safety goals for the mining industry. These stakeholder groups have joined with MSHA in the agency's Strategic Alliance program to combine resources and experiences to achieve a safer and healthier mining industry. The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA); the Industrial Minerals Association-North America (IMA-NA); the National Safety Council (NSC); the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE); the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers (Ironworkers); the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA) and the National Mining Association (NMA) have all demonstrated their commitment to fostering worker health and safety in the mining industry by signing alliance agreements. MSHA will continue to work with State governments in partnerships such as the Substance Abuse Summit, in which the States of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia held a free one-day substance abuse summit for individuals involved with coal mining operations and activities in the Southern Appalachian region. This kick-off meeting brought together a coalition of government, mining industry, labor, miners, and public health experts to share information, expertise and experiences in dealing with substance abuse in mines and the community.
OSHA has begun peer reviews for technical and scientific data used to support new significant regulatory development in response to the agency's FY 2002 review under the Program Assessment Rating Tool. OSHA, pursuant to Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Section 5 of Executive Order 12866, must conduct lookback studies on OSHA standards, taking into consideration public comments about rules, the continued need for them, their impacts, complexity, and whether there are redundant or conflicting regulations.
In FY 2005, a lookback review of the Ethylene Oxide standard was completed, with a determination that it should remain in effect with new guidance materials created (see Study 27 in Appendix 2). Another study completed in FY 2005, Evaluation of OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (Study 28 in Appendix 2), concluded that VPP sites may have a leveraging effect in their dissemination of safety and health information to other establishments in like industries both within their own corporations and outside.
Two evaluations, GAO's Safety in the Meat and Poultry Industry, While Improving, Could Be Further Strengthened (Study 25 in Appendix 2) and DOL OIG's OSHA Correctly Denied ED&D's Incomplete NRTL Application (Study 26 in Appendix 2) were completed in FY 2005. As a result of these studies, OSHA is examining expansion of criteria for site-specific targeting and improving its oversight and evaluation procedures for national testing laboratories.
The FY 2005 Evaluation of the Mine Safety and Health Administration's Efforts to Deliver Services and Support to Miners Working for Independent Contractors (Study 29 in Appendix 2) concluded that mine operator use of contractors to lower their costs and liability is increasing and that data on the contractor accidents and hours worked are under-reported.
OSHA estimates progress towards its fatality-reduction goal using Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) data from July of the previous fiscal year through June of the current fiscal year. The Agency relies on IMIS fatality data rather than Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data because of a one-year lag in BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data availability and because IMIS data provide a better measure of workplace deaths under OSHA jurisdiction. OSHA continues to evaluate its programs and measurements in furtherance of meeting the fatality reduction goal and to pursue methods of collecting data more quickly.
25For this goal the
baseline is the average fatality rate for July 1999-June 2002 (July 1999-June
2000, July 2000-June 2001, and July 2001-June 2002, respectively) and the
result is the average fatality rate for 2003-2005 (July 2002-June 2003, July
2003-June 2004, July 2004-June 2005, respectively).
Reduce Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
Reduce work-related injuries and illnesses
Both OSHA and MSHA are committed to expanding outreach, education and compliance assistance. OSHA uses its Web site for compliance assistance, and continually strives to make it more accessible such as a recently added Spanish Compliance Assistance page. DOL estimates that 60 million web visitors used MSHA's Web site in FY 2005, representing a 10 percent increase over last year. OSHA also uses electronic resources for outreach and compliance assistance. There are now more than 57,000 subscribers to OSHA's bi-weekly electronic newsletter QuickTakes, and the agency projects that more than 335,000 will receive training in 2005 through OSHA-sponsored programs, including the Outreach Training Program, the OSHA Training Institute, the Education Centers and the training grants program.
Small mines have historically had acute safety challenges. To assist small mines in their safety efforts, MSHA created a Small Mines Office. The Small Mines Office helps smaller operations that might not otherwise have the resources to have a full-fledged safety program. Since its inception, the Small Mines Office has helped over 3800 mine operators develop written safety and health plans that are tailored to fit their mining operations. As a result, the small mine operators assisted by the Small Mines office have fatality rates of four times less that those not assisted by the program. MSHA, in cooperation with the National Mining Association, recognizes companies with outstanding safety performance every year with the Sentinels of Safety award program that is designed to help MSHA and the mine operators reach a shared vision of no lives lost and no injuries sustained. MSHA showcases Stakeholder Best Practices on its Web site. These best practices were assembled by teams of industry representatives who won a Sentinels of Safety award or were runners-up in their categories.
MSHA is also tracking a goal to reduce the percent of respirable coal dust samples exceeding the applicable standards for designated occupations. This goal addresses reducing the incidence of black lung disease. See Management Issues for a discussion of the goals for which baselines were established in FY 2005.
Analysis and Future Plans
OSHA also continues to expand its cooperative programs. In the last two years, participation in the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) has increased by over 34 percent. To facilitate further growth in the program, OSHA launched OSHA Challenge and VPP Corporate in 2004 and plans to introduce VPP for Construction in 2006. The results VPP sites achieve are consistently impressive, including avoidance of over 8500 Total Recordable Cases in 2004. For example, Dow Company's VPP sites have a 33-percent lower injury and illness rate than their non-VPP sites and the United State Postal Service's VPP sites have a 21-percent lower rate than their non-VPP sites. The growth in all of OSHA's cooperative programs means more employers and employees are being reached. OSHA partnerships, joint efforts of OSHA, employers and employees, now cover over 4800 employers with over 566,000 employees and OSHA also has 69 national and 367 local Alliances.
DOL's all-injury incidence rate for the mining industry was reduced by 6 percent from the FY 2004 rate, according to preliminary FY 2005 third quarter data, although the target of 3.48 was not met. Through the third quarter of FY 2005, there were 3552 injuries in coal mines as compared to 3723 injuries through the third quarter of FY 2004. Injuries in metal/nonmetal mines were 4954 compared to 5000 in FY 2004.
MSHA's indicators for reducing respirable coal dust, silica dust, and noise exposures greatly exceeded MSHA's targets over the last two years for coal and silica dust, and over the last three years for noise. Subsequently, for FY 2005, MSHA established a more aggressive target for coal dust, and also established new baselines for silica dust and noise. The target was not reached for respirable coal mine dust exposures. Factors which most likely influenced this performance include competitive pressures to increase production while containing costs. This competitive dynamic leads to increased use of technically complex mining equipment; expanded mining operations leading many miners to work longer shifts and experience greater fatigue. Additionally, the high costs and limited supplies of oil and natural gas make coal mining more profitable. In turn, higher coal prices and increased profit margins push operators to open new mines, expand existing mines or resume mining operations at previously closed sites. Baselines for the three additional health indicators, which measure exposures to silica dust and noise in both metal and non-metal mines and coal mines, were not established in time for this report. They will be incorporated into the President's FY 2007 budget.
To achieve the ambitious goal of reducing the days away from work case rate by 20 percent, OSHA targets resources toward areas where these injuries and illnesses are occurring at a high number and rate. The OSHA Data Initiative gathers and compiles occupational injury and illness information from establishments in high-hazard industries, providing OSHA the ability to identify workplaces with elevated rates. OSHA then uses this information to direct both outreach and enforcement resources to places where intervention activities can have the greatest impact on reducing injury and illness rates.
MSHA's revision of its silica dust measure for metal and non-metal mines in FY 2006 will be based on a newly established baseline in FY 2005. The new indicator will measure MSHA's progress in identifying and controlling excessive silica exposures that adversely affect miner health. As with MSHA's new silica performance measure, the new noise indicator will measure MSHA's effectiveness in identifying and controlling miners' overexposure to noise in coal and metal and non-metal mines.
MSHA safety and health compliance specialists conduct dust and noise samples following well established procedures. Quality control processes assure accuracy and reliability of performance data. Anticipated performance challenges on the horizon include dealing with ever-changing mining environments that are relying more and more on larger, more mechanized and technically advanced equipment. More important, however, is the expected, continued increase in coal production that will result in an increased number of smaller operators with less experience and generally less sophisticated safety and health programs than their larger industry counterparts. These new operators will likely employ many new and untrained miners who are vulnerable to safety and health risks, who often lack the necessary skills obtained from training and experience, and who may not speak English as their primary language. MSHA recognizes the need to use all the tools provided in the Mine Act enforcement, education and training, and technical support, all of which include compliance assistance to continue and expand current successes as well as achieve our goal of zero injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the mining industry of the 21st century. MSHA is undergoing a profound culture change to a culture of prevention. The agency has strengthened compliance assistance and incorporated this concept in everything that MSHA does.
FY 2005 evaluations that pertain to this goal are discussed under Management Issues section in the fatality goal narrative (05-3.1A) and are listed in Appendix 2.
result; E=enforceable level
The Department is committed to fostering workplaces that provide equal opportunities to all working Americans. DOL pursues this commitment through two performance goals addressing equality in the workplace. The Employment Standards Administration's (ESA's) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) protects the employment rights of thousands of American workers by enforcing laws and providing compliance assistance regarding equal employment opportunity in companies that do business with the Federal government. DOL's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) administers the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which protects the employment and reemployment rights of uniformed service members who encounter barriers in civilian employment related to their service. VETS educates employers and service members about rights established by the law and it investigates complaints filed by veterans who believe their rights have been violated.
Net Cost of Programs
VETS expects further increases in USERRA claims from Guard/Reserve utilization related to the War on Terrorism. In anticipation of increasing workload, beginning in FY 2006 VETS will monitor Guard and Reserve mobilization and demobilization figures from the Department of Defense in a new Progress Index. The Progress Index is a comprehensive set of compliance assistance performance indicators that prioritizes the relative impact of each indicator. The index will be focused primarily on the two key USERRA responsibilities: reemployment and discrimination. Also, to improve USERRA guidance for all stakeholders, VETS is publishing regulations early in FY 2006 to clarify many key aspects of USERRA.
Foster Equal Opportunity Workplaces
Federal contractors achieve equal opportunity workplaces
Based on the principle that employment opportunities generated by Federal dollars should be equally available to all Americans, these legal authorities are an integral part of nearly all Federal contracts, subcontracts, federally assisted construction contracts, and the Federal procurement process. By monitoring and evaluating equal opportunity compliance in Federal contractors' workforces, DOL protects the employment rights of thousands of able American workers who may be otherwise unfairly excluded from the workplace.
OFCCP strategically directs resources toward identifying and removing protected workers' barriers. OFCCP's budgetary resources are allocated to both enforcement and compliance assistance. The indicators of discrimination incidence and compliance among targeted contractors portray the extent to which Federal contractors achieve equal opportunity workplaces, which is OFCCP's performance goal. OFCCP has developed a logic model to draw better connections between its budgetary resources and the achievement of its performance indicators and goal. Further, OFCCP has calculated unit costs for program outputs on a national, regional and individual compliance officer basis.
Analysis and Future Plans
DOL has modified the contractor selection system, incorporating recommendations from a 2003 study on effectiveness. DOL will gather performance results from completed FY 2005 compliance evaluations and use these results to evaluate the efficacy of the study's recommendations. DOL achieved its target of reducing the incidence of discrimination among Federal contractors to 7 percent; however, DOL notes that FY 2005 results are slightly higher than those for FY 2004. DOL believes this increase may be attributed to a modification of the contractor selection system used in FY 2005 that may have better targeted non-compliant contractors. The 86 percent rate for compliance among Federal contractors in all other aspects of Equal Employment Opportunity standards exceeds the FY 2005 target of 62 percent; nonetheless, the five percentage point difference between the FY 2004 result of 91 percent and the FY 2005 result may also be attributed to the modified selection system. DOL exceeded its performance goal during FY 2003-FY 2005 as indicated in the accompanying chart.
In addition, DOL is considering a new contracts first initiative for centralizing the agency's responsibility to verify contractor jurisdiction before a compliance evaluation can be conducted. This initiative will further streamline the contractor selection process and allow more resources to be directed toward compliance. This initiative uses Federal databases with information on awarded Federal contracts as the primary source for determining the universe of Federal contractors subject to the laws enforced by the OFCCP and to potential compliance evaluations. Use of these data will significantly reduce the amount of field staff enforcement hours used to research contract coverage for jurisdiction purposes.
OFCCP's program-related strategies to ensure that Federal contractors achieve equal employment workplaces are shaped by external factors and trends such as the total number of Federal contractors; company acquisitions and mergers; and turnover in the Federal contractor community and the need to determine contractor jurisdiction efficiently.
OFCCP's enforcement strategy continues to focus on finding and remedying systemic discrimination in the workplace. The methods for litigating cases of systemic discrimination require the Federal government to meet a high burden of proof. The costs are substantial. For example, expert witnesses are necessary to support the litigation of complex systemic discrimination cases. Successful case litigation requires lengthy and intensive studies and analysis of large databases; formal depositions; and investigation of other case-related information.
DOL evaluated the effectiveness of the Equal Opportunity Survey as an instrument for identifying contractors engaged in systemic discrimination (Study 30 in Appendix 2). The study provided OFCCP with some suggestions for data analysis which are now under review. DOL hired the Eastern Research Group (ERG) (Study 31 in Appendix 2) to help develop a web-based information system for collecting information on Federal construction contracts, and a prototype system is being evaluated. Another study that is underway focuses on refining the OFCCP discrimination prediction model; conclusions are expected by December 31, 2005.
DOL continually seeks to simplify regulations and reduce regulatory burden on Federal contractors. The most recent regulation change eliminates the requirement for on-site visits to Federal contractors in compliance checks, giving contractors the option to submit their data to OFCCP for inspection. DOL also proposed and published in a Notice of Proposed Standards new guidelines for evaluating systemic compensation discrimination under Executive Order 11246 and new guidelines for self-evaluation of compensation practices. Both are pending approval. The proposal and the public comments are being reviewed by ESA and OFCCP executive staff.
OFCCP was initially assessed through the PART in FY 2002 and was rated Results Not Demonstrated. The PART found that OFCCP could not quantify the impact of its civil rights enforcement efforts. OFCCP implemented the PART recommendations, which included developing the measures for this performance goal: incidence of discrimination and level of compliance. Based on its new measures and its improved performance, OFCCP was reassessed through the PART in FY 2004. Its current rating is Adequate.
Promote Equal Opportunity Under the Workforce
Reduce employer-employee employment issues originating from service members military obligations conflicting with their civilian employment.
VETS provides compliance assistance to employers and protected individuals, and investigates individuals' complaints alleging their rights have been violated. VETS seeks to reduce both employer violations and the filing of meritless complaints by protected individuals. The FY 2005 USERRA Performance Goal and associated indicators focus on resolving filed claims. Most violations and meritless complaints could be avoided with greater knowledge of the rights and protections established by USERRA. For this reason VETS has an active compliance assistance program directed to employers and members of National Guard and Reserve units to increase knowledge and understanding of USERRA's significant provisions.
The two external factors having the greatest impact on VETS' achievement of USERRA goals are the economy and increases in military active duty periods. Both of these factors cause more service members to face difficulties associated with their civilian employment or reemployment. While the economy remains steady, the U.S. war effort continues to increase Guard and Reserve active duty by significant numbers. This trend will likely increase VETS USERRA activity.
Analysis and Future Plans
Tracking the percentage of cases resolved in a timely manner addresses just one dimension of challenges under USERRA. VETS plans a more specific goal statement and more useful indicators for FY 2006 which will better reflect its USERRA responsibilities. The new goal statement is "Reduce USERRA violations in reemployment, discrimination, and other areas, and reduce meritless complaints by protected individuals, originating from service members' military obligations conflicting with their civilian employment." VETS has developed a comprehensive USERRA Progress Index to sharpen how it measures reduction of violations and meritless complaints. The Progress Index will use rigorously documented indicators and targets that measure cases and assistance (non-case-related contacts). These indicators will be consolidated and weighted in a manner that prioritizes the relative impact of each indicator, yielding an indexed measure of demonstrated progress against violations and meritless complaints.
The new Progress Index is focused on the predominant sector of USERRA activity: National Guard and Reserve components. Since FY 1997, claims from the Guard/Reserve comprised 81 percent of all USERRA claims; in FY 2004, 87 percent were Guard/Reserve claims. VETS expects this trend to continue and possibly increase due to Guard/Reserve mobilizations/demobilizations relating to the ongoing War on Terrorism. To account for the increasing demand for USERRA compliance and USERRA assistance, Guard and Reserve mobilization and demobilization figures from the Department of Defense will be used in the Progress Index.
Other entities engaged in USERRA support affect USERRA violations and meritless complaints, and yet are outside the scope of VETS' efforts. These include the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) in its ongoing Federal USERRA demonstration. As such, the Progress Index will not measure the USERRA impact of ESGR, OSC, or any other external entity.
A study of 19,000 Guard and Reservists released in October 2004, Survey of USERRA Issues for Returning Military Members, found that USERRA provides valuable protections to employees in the civilian workforce who also perform military duties (see Study 32 in Appendix 2). Over 80 percent of National Guard and Reserve members who have completed active duty return to work with their previous employers, and a majority report having no problems with this return. However, some Guard and Reserve members do encounter problems. Based on the findings, VETS changed the way USERRA information is provided to both the employer community and the men and women who are protected by the law.
Today's global economy is having an undeniable impact on the 21st Century American workforce. The well-being of American workers is increasingly tied to international stability, which is in part a function of broad-based economic prosperity. Through its complementary missions of supporting the expansion of free and fair trade and providing technical assistance grants to eliminate exploitive child labor and promote basic rights of workers, the Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) strives to increase economic well-being around the world.
ILAB-supported international technical assistance programs are unique in that they focus on raising living standards through labor and workplace-related interventions. In FY 2005, these programs focused on supporting initiatives to combat the trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children; promote education in developing and tsunami-stricken countries; increase compliance with labor laws; reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on workers; and fulfill the Department's role in negotiating international trade agreements.
In each of these cases, performance was remarkably better than in FY 2004. For most other indicators, FY 2005 was the baseline year (first year of data). The indicator not reached was for children completing programs. DOL believes this is due to many enrollees not having an opportunity to finish multi-year programs. Another indicator, retention of children in these same programs, supports this analysis; the FY 2005 result was 80 percent vs. a target of 65 percent.
Net Cost of Programs
Reduce Child Labor in Developing Countries
Contribute to the elimination of the worst forms of child labor internationally
ILAB measures the progress of its ILO-IPEC projects on two levels: community-based direct interventions benefiting individual children and families; and country-level activities to build institutional capacity and strength. EI indicators focus on the educational enrollment of children who have been withdrawn or prevented from exploitive child labor, and their retention and completion of ILAB-funded educational programs. ILAB establishes its annual targets for its indicators through close consultations with grantees and analysis of baseline information, individual project targets, past performance and external factors.
Various external factors influence ILAB's targeted outcomes, such as the implementing environment of developing countries. ILAB-funded projects work in countries with diverse political, social, and economic environments. Civil unrest, natural disasters, economic shocks, frequent changes in governments and poor infrastructure may also impact the progress of project implementation.
Analysis and Future Plans
In 2005, 150,708 children were removed or prevented from exploitive work through the provision of education or training opportunities in ongoing ILO-IPEC programs funded by DOL, exceeding the target of 116,000 children. An additional 98,394 children were withdrawn or prevented from entering the worst forms of child labor and enrolled in educational or training opportunities by ongoing Child Labor Education Initiative (EI) programs funded by DOL, exceeding the target of 50,000 children. Since 2001, USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC and Child Labor Education Initiative projects have removed or prevented approximately 600,000 children from exploitive work and given them meaningful alternatives to child labor.
Preventing and withdrawing children from the worst forms of child labor in the long-term depends on a country's willingness and ability to address the issue and sustain the efforts even after projects end. In FY 2005, DOL-funded ILO-IPEC programs increased the capacity of 39 countries to address child labor, exceeding its target of 20. Increasing capacity to address child labor is defined by a country's legal framework, public policy and monitoring of child labor. One example of a country that increased its capacity to address child labor is Morocco, where with assistance from ILO-IPEC, its government established and published new labor code bylaws that identify hazardous forms of work for children.
In addition to measuring the number of children withdrawn or prevented from entering the worst forms of child labor and enrolled in educational or training opportunities, EI projects also measure the retention and completion rates of the children enrolled. In 2005, the retention of children enrolled in FY 2001 and FY 2002 EI projects was 80 percent, exceeding the target of 65 percent. In 2005, 38 percent of children enrolled in FY 2001 projects completed an EI project, below the target of 50 percent. Because this is the first time ILAB has reported on this indicator, no baseline data existed for establishing this target. In addition, since EI projects are typically four-year projects, many children enrolled have not yet completed their programs.
During FY 2005, ILAB commissioned a study to synthesize evaluation findings and recommendations of projects supported by the Department's technical assistance program with ILO-IPEC. The study (Study 33 in Appendix) highlighted trends in evaluation observations, findings, and recommendations.
In Fiscal Years 2002 and 2003, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) identified the lack of project level coverage for DOL programs in Single Audits (OMB Circular A-133) as a major management challenge faced by DOL grantor agencies. In September 2004, ILAB began working, in consultation with the OIG, with an accounting firm to conduct independent reviews of its child labor technical assistance projects. These studies examined grantees' compliance with Federal and DOL grant rules and regulations, and verify the accuracy of project-level GPRA performance data. ILAB scheduled nine reviews in FY 2005, and will produce a report summarizing findings and lessons learned from each. An additional 20 reviews are scheduled for FY 2006.
ILAB's technical assistance programs (child labor and core labor standards) were assessed as adequate in the FY2006 PART cycle. The principal finding of the PART was the need for more data to assess the impact of ILAB's programs. ILAB has received funding from DOL to evaluate ILAB's programs, including an assessment of how ILAB programs complement or compare to other government-funded international assistance programs.
children enrolled in Education Initiative projects in FY 2001 and FY 2002.
Children who have completed the EI project are not included.
Improving Life for Workers Around the Globe
Improve living standards and conditions of work internationally.
The indicators for this goal are divided into two categories. The first three indicators, which support the President's International Trade Agenda, measure the extent of labor law compliance through increased labor inspections, improved economic conditions, and reported improvements to working conditions. The last two indicators gauge DOL's success in promoting HIV/AIDS workplace education. These five indicators represent the long term objectives of the Department's current portfolio of international technical assistance projects not focused on child labor issues.
Analysis and Future Plans
DOL reached all of the targets for this goal. Notably, more than half of targeted individuals feel their economic situation has benefited from DOL Office of Foreign Relations project assistance. In addition, over three quarters of targeted workers credit DOL programs with improving their conditions of work. DOL met its target to establish a baseline measure of compliance with national labor laws. Compliance is defined by an increase in the number of workers benefiting from improved labor inspections.
DOL demonstrated great cost efficiency in its technical assistance programs in FY2005. It cost the Department $3.52 per worker to improve workplace HIV/AIDS policies and programs. On average, DOL placed workers in employment opportunities for $66.92 per worker in project countries, including in the Republic of Iraq. These costs include DOL administrative as well as project expenditures.
During FY2005, the Office of Foreign Relations (OFR) conducted twelve final evaluations and ten mid-term evaluations. Each mid-term evaluation validated project objectives and provided recommendations to improve project performance and long-term sustainability. Each final evaluation examined good practices and lessons learned at the project level in OFR's three program areas.
ILAB's technical assistance programs (child labor and core labor standards) were assessed as Adequate in the FY 2006 PART cycle. The principal finding of the PART was the need for more data in order to assess the impact of ILAB's programs. In response, ILAB submitted a proposal and received funding from the Department for a program-wide evaluation of the overall impact of ILAB's programs The evaluation, which is scheduled to begin by the end of fiscal year 2005, will include an assessment of how ILAB's activities complement or compare to other government-funded international assistance programs.