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July 10 [press release] -- To help create and promote business ownership by America’s workers, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the launch of a new Employee Ownership Initiative within its Employee Benefits Security Administration.

As part of the Worker Ownership, Readiness, and Knowledge Act in the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 and aligned with President Biden’s promise to lead the most pro-worker administration in history, EBSA will implement a new program to empower workers through ownership arrangements and educate those workers on possible pathways to greater rewards in return for their labor.

“Worker ownership arrangements help create pathways for employees to earn a fair share of the profits that their labor 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 Labor Julie A. Su. “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.”

EBSA’s new initiative includes creation of the Division of Employee Ownership in EBSA’s Office of Outreach, Education and Assistance. The division 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.
-- Developing a clearinghouse of techniques applied by new and existing state programs and sharing information about these techniques with states.
-- Providing education, outreach, and training to inform employees and employers about the possibilities and benefits of worker ownership and business ownership succession planning.
-- Providing 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.

“By launching this initiative, the Employee Benefits Security Administration is working to help balance the distribution of power in America’s workplaces and empower the workers who fuel their employers’ ability to be successful day in, day out, while educating employers about how worker ownership can be good for business,” explained Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Lisa M. Gomez.

In the coming months, EBSA will hold stakeholder meetings to gain important feedback on how to best achieve the initiative’s goals and carry out the division’s activities. Separately, EBSA will also issue formal guidance on valuation of employer stock in employee stock ownership plans, as required by the WORK Act.
Press release: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/ebsa/ebsa20230710

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