Did you know? Benefits.gov Highlights Labor Day 2016

For over 130 years, Labor Day, also known as the “Workingman’s Holiday,” has been celebrated on the first Monday in September. This year, Labor Day falls on the same date as the first recorded celebration of a labor holiday on September 5, 1882. Even though the holiday had been celebrated unofficially for 12 years, Department of Labor (DOL) historians state that Labor Day was officially approved as a national holiday in 1894. The holiday predates the DOL itself and since the DOL’s inception in 1913, the Department has strived “to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights” per their mission statement. By implementing various labor policies and programs, DOL has been able to fulfill the original purpose of Labor Day by supporting workers for over 100 years.

Another interesting fact: One of the first Department of Labor initiatives, the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), turns 100 years old this year. The FECA provides benefits to workers who are injured or contract illnesses in the workplace. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one of the most well-known pieces of legislation for working Americans, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. Newer initiatives such as the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 tackle a policy around fair pay, allowing individuals a wider window of time to file pay discrimination claims.

Labor Day 2016 celebrates these advancements in labor rights over the last 134 years and is a chance to commemorate DOL and the labor movement’s efforts, as well as highlight the challenges that still need to be overcome. To learn more about the programs that can assist with labor and worker’s rights, please visit DOL.gov.