OSBP serves as DOLs Ombudsman for small businesses under the Small
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA). OSBP is a
resource for small businesses seeking
information regarding the rules and regulations the Department administers.
You should also visit DOL's Compliance
Assistance section and OSBP's Small
Business Resource Center page for information to help you understand the
rules and regulations the Department administers.
Finding Out What DOL Laws Require
Helpful Materials: What Is Available and Who Do I Call?
Central Contact Point:
SBREFA requires federal agencies to make
currently existing pamphlets, handbooks, and other compliance materials
available to small businesses through a central source. At DOL, your central
contact point is the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) on
Local DOL Offices:
Compliance Guides for New Regulations:
For many new regulations issued after June 28,
1996, SBREFA requires agencies to write compliance guides that explain in plain
language what the new regulations require. The guides are available through
OSBP, the Regional Offices, and the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Small
Business Development Centers (for the one nearest you, call SBA at (800)
Compliance Advice: Answering Your Questions
- You may call DOL enforcement agencies to find out how a law applies
to your specific facts; SBREFA requires DOL to interpret and apply the law to
those facts. Reliance on erroneous DOL advice may be considered in determining
whether the amount of a penalty in an enforcement action is appropriate.
- Who to Call: Compliance questions should be directed to the DOL
toll-free call center (1-866-4-USA-DOL) or your local or Regional DOL Office;
if you need more help, call OSBP at 1-888-9-SBREFA.
Registering Complaints About DOL Enforcement
SBA Ombudsman and Regional Small Business
Regulatory Fairness Boards
- Under SBREFA, the SBA has established an
Ombudsman and SBA Regional Fairness Boards; written, signed complaints
about DOL enforcement actions may be sent to the Ombudsman at 409 3rd Street
SW, MC 2120, Washington, DC, 20416. You also may call the Ombudsman at
1-888-REG-FAIR, your local DOL Regional Office, or OSBP at 1-888-9-SBREFA.
Please note that any obligation you might have to comply with the enforcement
or compliance actions is not affected by the filing of your comments with the
Ombudsman; and the filing of your comments with the Ombudsman is not a
substitute for any legal options you believe are in your best interest.
- SBA Ombudsman requires enforcement agencies to establish a
non-retaliation policy. To view the non-retaliation policies of DOL agencies,
select the agency of your choice: OSHA, MSHA, WHD, EBSA.
- SBA Ombudsman prepares an Annual
Report to Congress that evaluates federal agencies.
Recovering Legal Fees and Expenses
- SBREFA expands the ability of small businesses to recover legal costs
under the Equal Access To Justice Act (EAJA) by allowing small businesses to
recoup legal expenses when the government seeks unreasonably high penalties in
certain types of cases.
Obtaining Reductions/Waivers of Penalties
- SBREFA requires enforcement agencies to have a program for reductions
and waivers of penalties for small businesses under certain circumstances.
Influencing New Regulations
- DOL is required to obtain and consider small business input and
interests when writing a new regulation that will have a significant economic
effect on a substantial number of small businesses. Alternatives that would
reduce the economic burden on small businesses must be considered.
- OSHA must convene a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel to collect
advice from small business representatives and consult with the SBA when it is
developing such a rule.
- Once a new rule is completed, SBREFA requires that it be submitted to
Congress; Congress then has the opportunity to vote to disapprove of the new
How Do I Find Out What New DOL Regulations Are Being
- DOL publishes a Semiannual Regulatory Agenda of regulations that will
significantly affect a substantial number of small businesses that are
scheduled for review or development. For a copy, call the Superintendent of
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office on (202) 512-1800. The Agenda is
also available on the Internet.
How Do I Submit My Comments?
- An agency contact person and telephone number is listed at the end of
each item in the Regulatory Agenda. Call the contact person to find out how to
submit comments on a particular regulation that is being reviewed or developed.
Improving DOL Small Business Services
Call OSBP With Your Suggestions:
(202) 693-6460 or 1-888-9-SBREFA
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