September 12, 2023

Warner, Brown Reintroduce Legislation to Shed Light on Workforce Management Policies and Practices

Reintroduction comes ahead of Tuesday’s Banking Committee hearing with SEC Chair Gary Gensler

Ahead of a Tuesday oversight hearing in the Senate Banking Committee with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced legislation to require publicly traded companies to disclose information regarding workforce management metrics, including investments made in skills training, workforce safety, and employee retention.

“Workers are the most valuable resource a company can have, but without a clear set of standards for reporting, the investment that public companies make in their personnel are next-to-impossible to track,” said Sen. Warner. “This legislation will help provide a clearer picture of how public companies are managing, supporting, and investing in their workers – factors that significantly influence a company’s ability to innovate and compete.”

“Big Tech and other corporations use subcontracting and outsourcing to hide their total number of workers. The result is that too many workers are invisible under current disclosure requirements,” said Sen. Brown. “The Workforce Investment Disclosure Act will finally shed some sunlight on how companies outsource and subcontract their workers and allow the public to scrutinize what these companies are doing to invest in their workers.”

Since the start of his tenure in 2021, Chair Gensler has stated disclosure of these workforce metrics would be a priority of his agenda, but a rule making this a requirement has yet to be proposed. The Workforce Investment Disclosure Act would require public companies disclose basic human capital metrics, which have an increasingly high value across industries in our 21st century economy. These metrics include workforce turnover rates, skills and development training, workforce health and safety, workforce engagement, and compensation statistics.

Specifically, the legislation would build on existing disclosure requirements by requiring companies to disclose:

  • Demographic information;
  • Data on temporary and contract workers;
  • Employee turnover rate;
  • Employee skills and capabilities;
  • Workforce health, safety, and well-being, including findings of harassment or discrimination; and
  • Employee compensation, benefits, and incentives.

Sen. Warner, a former entrepreneur and venture capitalist, has long stressed the importance of updating human capital disclosure requirements to reflect the priorities of modern companies. First introducing the Workforce Investment Disclosure Act in 2020, Sens. Warner and Brown have also urged the SEC to implement improvements to their human capital disclosure rules including for part-time employees.

Full text of the bill is available here