Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Agency Keeps Shrinking

Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...

By Jacklyn Wille

The Labor Department’s benefits arm continues to see its staffing levels decline, with the number of employees dropping nearly 4 percent in the past quarter.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration lost 33 employees between June 2017 and September 2017 and saw its total workforce dip below 900, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management and the DOL. The EBSA lost 87 employees since September 2016, a drop of 9 percent.

The agency’s workforce shrunk by more than 150 people—or 14 percent—since its Obama-era peak of 1,043 in September 2012.

The number of EBSA workers categorized as GS-15—the highest civilian pay grade in the federal government—is also on the decline. The EBSA employed 37 GS-15 workers in September 2017, down from 47 in June 2012. The agency shed GS-15 employees in each of the past seven quarters.

Nearly every agency within the DOL lost employees over the past year, OPM data show. Total DOL staffing levels are down 4.7 percent in the past year, with only one office—the Office of the Chief Financial Officer—gaining employees during that period.

Although the EBSA’s 9 percent decline is nearly double the drop experienced throughout the DOL in the past year, other agencies had even steeper losses: The Women’s Bureau lost 20 percent of its staff during that time and the Office of Disability Employment Policy had a decline of nearly 12 percent.

A spokesman for the DOL declined to comment on these developments.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacklyn Wille in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at [email protected]

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