President Trump’s budget proposal—America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again—proposes deep cuts to many agencies, and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is one of them. For that agency, Trump is proposing a 21 percent budget cut that could have a substantial impact on the agency’s operating capabilities.

If passed in its current form, the cut would reduce the DOL budget to $9.6 billion in 2018, compared with $12.2 billion in 2017. According to reporting in The Atlantic, the DOL is one of the budget’s biggest losers and will be facing a budget smaller than any it has had since the early 1980s.

How those cuts will be applied is unclear, but if they follow the President’s Executive Orders, they will likely reduce regulatory burdens on corporations. That could be good news for business owners who increasingly become targets of DOL investigations, but nothing is certain at this point.

E-Verify Gets a Boost
The President’s budget also calls for $15 million to fund improvements to E-Verify, the Internet-based system that reports on legal working status using Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases. Because it can streamline the process by which employers perform legally mandated verifications, many business owners view it as a benefit rather than an additional burden.

A Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) survey, conducted in fall 2016, found that 83 percent of respondents either strongly or somewhat supported a national requirement for E-Verify. While a few respondents expressed concerns with it, many suggested it could become even more valuable. Per the SHRM report, improvements that would increase support for E-Verify included:

  • Reduces allegations of employment-based discrimination (95 percent).
  • Includes a strong safe harbor to protect employers (95 percent).
  • Authenticates identity as well as work status (94 percent).
  • Eliminates the Form I-9 (89 percent).

Currently, the use of E-Verify is mandatory for federal contractors and subcontractors as well as some or all public or private employers in 20 states and localities. For a list of requirements by state, click here. The Department of Homeland Security maintains an extensive information resource on E-Verify, as well.

None of these outcomes are certain yet, and we will report back as we hear updates. In the meantime, Barada recommends that business owners maintain a high level of screening, hiring and workplace diligence to avoid breaking the law and potentially facing punitive action.