With little fanfare (i.e., no announcement on its website), the Department of Labor (DOL) has launched its Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, a voluntary initiative where companies can seek assistance in resolving wage-and-hour issues including back pay and overtime.

DOL-launches-voluntary-FLSA-violation-reporting-programPolitico, the online magazine, claims a DOL spokesperson confirmed that PAID is launching today, April 3, and in accordance with the original announcement about the program, will then run for six months for evaluation.

PAID allows employers without prior violations to self-report suspected wage-and-hour violations and then resolve them without penalty, provided the businesses vow to remain in full compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) going forward.

DOL Secretary Alexander Acosta told Congress, when announcing the program, “If an employer currently sees that they made a mistake, right now there is little incentive for them to come forward.”

Liberal critics claim it is nothing more than a get-out-of-jail-free card for transgressing employers.

The PAID page on the DOL website explains things this way:

The Wage and Hour Division’s (WHD) new nationwide pilot program, the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, facilitates resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The program’s primary objectives are to resolve such claims expeditiously and without litigation, to improve employers’ compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations, and to ensure that more employees receive the back wages they are owed—faster.

Under the PAID program, employers are encouraged to conduct audits and, if they discover overtime or minimum wage violations, to self-report those violations. Employers may then work in good faith with WHD to correct their mistakes and to quickly provide 100% of the back wages due to their affected employees.