Worker protections such as stable scheduling laws, living wage ordinances and job quality incentive programs are less effective when there is no clear enforcement agency that has the resources to provide education coupled with the mandate to monitor compliance, investigate worker complaints and bring enforcement actions against employers. Victims may not know where to report abuses—such as misclassification, wage theft, and other violations of federal, state, or local law—which allows abuses to persist. Additionally, workers may not know about all the protections they are entitled to, and employers may inadvertently violate laws or ordinances simply because they do not know about them or understand how to comply.

Government agencies can play a number of different roles including the following. You may use one or more of these techniques depending on your role and the mandate of your agency.


Education and & Awareness

• Helping job seekers understand what job quality looks like for them
• Posting information and conducting “know your rights” workshops at American Job Centers.
• Hosting training for employers on new labor laws or requirements
• Incorporating training about job quality principles into the business engagement set of services

Technical Assistance

• Hosting or partnering on technical assistance for employers that want help complying with the law.
• Providing a hot line that employers can call to receive assistance in understanding and complying with HR related laws
• Providing funding to businesses looking to implement new HR processes or systems to meet or exceed job quality principles.

Monitoring & Reporting

• Providing safe channels for workers and job seekers in public employment programs to report alleged labor violations.
• Reviewing investigation and enforcement data on companies that have violated local ordinances, informing partner, procurement and subsidized wage funding decisions.
• Monitoring and enforcing living wage ordinances and other job quality requirements and standards for contractors, service providers and recipients of wage subsidies


• Issuing citations with corrective action requirements, fines / settlement, debarment, or in extreme cases, business closure.
• Establishing an office of worker protections or labor standards.

The impact and effectiveness of the education and enforcement lever can be measured through trends in behavior of both businesses and workers.

Similar to the policy lever, collecting data at different stages of the process including outreach/engagement/education, during the investigation, citations/settlements and judgment/enforcement process, as well as post investigation will provide a more holistic view of both worker and employer needs as well as the relevance and impact of the intervention.

Additionally, remember that workforce agencies may not be involved/responsible for every step of an education or enforcement process so focus the design of your intervention, and corresponding data collection, primarily on those areas within the realm of direct control or strong influence.


Selected your lever(s)? Now move on to documenting your goals.