The Secretary of Labor's waiver authority under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a tool to promote workforce system innovation and focus on outcomes.

What Can Be Waived

The Department is supportive of waivers that are within the Secretary's waiver authority and where the state can articulate in its waiver request how the proposed waiver will improve job seeker and employer outcomes, or otherwise achieve positive outcomes. The Department will also consider any other waivers that disaster-impacted states may need.

The Department may approve waivers for a period of time shorter than the full life of the WIOA Unified or Combined State Plan, which will give the Department an opportunity to assess the State's progress in meeting specific conditions of the waiver.

The Department reviews each waiver individually. WIOA does not permit granting waivers unless requested in accordance with specific regulatory requirements. The statute requires response within 90 days of a waiver request.

States have a fair amount of flexibility under current law. Waivers were actively sought and approved under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the predecessor to WIOA. Most of these waivers are now codified in WIOA and are no longer needed.

Limitations to Waiver Authority

There are certain limitations to the WIOA waiver authority as noted below.

WIOA section 189(i)(3)(A)(i) establishes the limitations of the Secretary's general waiver authority for WIOA Title I, subtitles A, B, and E. The Secretary is statutorily prohibited from waiving any provisions related to the following:

List of items prohibited from Secretary's waiver authority
Wage and Labor Standards Allocation of funds to local areas
Non-displacement protections Eligibility of providers or participants
Worker rights Establishment and functions of local areas and local WDBs
Participation and protection of workers and participants Procedures to review and approval of State and local plans
Grievance procedures and judicial review Funding of Infrastructure costs for One-Stop Centers
Nondiscrimination Other requirements related to the basic purposes of WIOA Title I

Waiver Request Tool

This tool is available to States to assist with waiver request development.

Approved Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Waivers (October 16, 2018)

Departmental Waiver Decisions as of August 2018

Recent waiver requests submitted by the States and links to DOL's decision letter
State Decision Letter Date of Letter
Alaska June 30, 2018
CNMI June 12, 2018
Connecticut June 29, 2018
Idaho June 29, 2018
Indiana August 1, 2018
June 7, 2018
Kansas June 29, 2018
Maine August 30, 2017
Massachusetts June 12, 2018
Michigan January 2, 2018
Minnesota June 12, 2018
Missouri August 21, 2018
Nebraska June 29, 2018
New York August 1, 2018
North Carolina June 12, 2018
Ohio August 18, 2017
Puerto Rico June 12, 2018
South Carolina June 12, 2018
South Dakota August 1, 2018
June 12, 2018
Texas October 11, 2017
Utah June 12, 2018
Virginia May 23, 2017

Updated: October 30, 2018