Workplace Regulations Carry Hefty Price Tag

Regulations governing America's workplaces cost an estimated $91\r\nbillion annually, according to a new study by the Mercatus Center at\r\nGeorge Mason University.

Regulations governing America''s workplaces cost an estimated $91 billion annually, according to a new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Joseph Johnson, the Dorothy Donnelley Moller Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center who conducted the study.

"Johnson''s research sheds new light on the hidden tax that regulations impose on American citizens," said Susan Dudley, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Cent. "It is the most comprehensive report to date on the total annual cost of workplace regulations."

Johnson''s study examined rules issued by the Department of Labor that cover six key areas: labor standards, employee benefits, labor-management relations, safety and health, civil rights and employment law.

Within those six categories, the study estimates costs based on 25 major statutes and Executive Orders, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Cost estimates in the study include:

  • Labor standard regulations $1.2 billion
  • Employee benefit regulations $18.4 billion
  • Labor-management relations regulations $3.9 billion
  • Occupational Safety and Health regulations $48.6 billion
  • Civil rights regulations $6.5 billion
  • Employment decision laws $12.2 billion

Johnson pointed out that while many workplace regulations may benefit workers, it is important to track and understand the impact of the overall costs.

"As private sector managers have long recognized, that which goes unmeasured, goes unheeded," said Johnson. "Often, the desired benefits of regulation are better understood than the costs. In the same way that the federal government tracks on-budget expenditures, it is valuable to track the off-budget costs of regulation."

by Virginia Foran

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