Department of Labor Issues Final Rule on Guidance, Establishes Search Portal for Guidance Materials

On October 9, 2019, President Trump issued Executive Order 13891, “Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents,” designed to create a fairer system for American businesses and workers, and to clarify guidance from federal agencies. In accordance with this order, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued the final rule “Promoting Regulatory Openness through Good Guidance,” which establishes the DOL’s “policy and requirements for issuing, modifying, withdrawing, and using guidance,” as well as its new process of making guidance information available to the public through a new, searchable online portal. 

According to DOL, ”This rule will help the Department use guidance lawfully and appropriately, and it gives Americans fairer notice of and improved access to guidance.” DOL also notes that “unless law permits, guidance documents should not establish new requirements that the agency treats as binding; any such requirements should be issued pursuant to applicable notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act...” 

The full text of the final rule is available online at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/08/28/2020-18500/promoting-regulatory-openness-through-good-guidance-pro-good-guidance

A fact sheet is available at https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OASP/PRO%20Good%20Guidance%20Rule%208-20.pdf

DOL’s searchable online guidance database can be found at dol.gov/guidance