Upjohn Institute Senior Researcher Aaron Sojourner testified before the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on July 18. The hearing was titled "Cutting Corners at WHD: Examining the Cost to Workers, Small Businesses, and the Economy.” Video of the hearing is now available from the subcommittee's website:
WHD refers to the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Sojourner's testimony addresses what he sees as a primary challenge in the U.S. labor market today: raising job quality enough to attract potential workers off the sidelines without employers seeing job regulation as so burdensome that they don't want to hire.
He's one of four witnesses invited to testify, alongside Jonathan Wolfson of the Cicero Institute, Elizabeth Milito of the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center, and Rachel Greszler of the Heritage Foundation.
Key points from Sojourner's testimony:
- The U.S. economy, profit opportunities, and employer demand for talent are strong. Improving workers' job quality is a key tool for continuing to attract talent and keeping the economy growing.
- Weak enforcement & narrowed labor standards give employers incentives and profitable strategies to avoid paying workers earned wages and benefits. Many use them, hurting workers and law-abiding employers.
To create a more level playing field, DOL is proposing to move back to the Supreme-Court approved six-factor economic realities test that was used for decades to distinguish who’s in business for themselves versus who is an employee. A Department of Labor that vigorously and even-handedly enforces our nation’s laws helps improve job quality and shared prosperity.
Download Sojourner's full written testimony, as submitted to the committee.