The U.S. Department of Labor is launching an employee ownership initiative to encourage more employers and employees to take advantage of these opportunities.

The new initiative will fall under part of the SECURE 2.0 Act — which was passed by Congress in 2022 — and aims to empower workers through ownership arrangements and educate them on possible pathways to greater rewards in return for their labour.

“Worker ownership arrangements help create pathways for employees to earn a fair share of the profits that their labour makes possible and will play a critical role in the Biden-Harris administration’s fight to give workers a voice on the job and a seat at the table,” said Acting Secretary of Labour Julie A. Su, in a press release.

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“This new Department of Labor initiative is an important step in implementing President Biden’s economic plan to empower workers and grow the economy from the middle out and the bottom up — not the top down.”

The initiative will include:

  • The creation of a division of employee ownership in the Employee Benefits Security Administration department’s Office of Outreach, Education and Assistance, which will support the creation and expansion of worker-owned businesses by supporting existing programs designed to promote employee ownership and facilitating the formation of new programs;
  • The development of a clearing house of techniques applied by new and existing state programs and sharing information about these techniques with states;
  • The provision of education, outreach and training to inform employees and employers about the possibilities and benefits of worker ownership and business ownership succession planning; and
  • The provision of technical assistance for employee’s efforts to become business owners and helping employers and employees explore the feasibility of transferring full or partial ownership to employees.

In the coming months, the EBSA will hold stakeholder meetings to gain feedback on how to best achieve the initiative’s goals and carry out the division’s activities. It will also issue formal guidance on the valuation of employer stock in employee stock ownership plans, as required by the WORK Act.

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