The History of the Kansas Department of Labor

The Kansas Department of Labor has changed over the years. In its first appearance, as the State Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics in 1885, its duties were to "collect, assort and present to the governor, in annual reports, statistics relating to all departments of labor and industry in the state, especially in their relation to the commercial, industrial, social, educational and sanitary condition of the laboring classes." The Labor Market Information Services Division (LMIS) continues many of these responsibilities.

KDOL-History55  From 1888 to 1912 the agency increased its responsibilities and was known as the Bureau of Labor and Industry.

Following passage of the first comprehensive Kansas child labor law in 1905 and the first workers compensation law in 1911, the agency became the Department of Labor and Industry in 1913. By the following year the "and Industry" had been informally dropped from the agency name.

The Division of Unemployment Compensation began in 1937 under the Commissioner of Labor and Industry. This followed the 1936 federal law requiring employers to contribute to a federal unemployment tax fund if there was no state fund established.

In 1939 the agency was reorganized as the Department of Labor.

In 1939, the Office of Workmen’s Compensation began as a separate agency. It became the Office of the Director of Workers Compensation in 1961 and subsequently became a division in the Department of Labor.

The agency was headed by a Commissioner until after 1975 when the chief administrator became a Secretary.

In 1976 the agency was reorganized by Executive Order as the Kansas Department of Human Resources. An Executive Order in 2004 again reorganized the agency and renamed it the Kansas Department of Labor.

The Kansas Department of Labor currently administers the Kansas Unemployment Insurance program and state workers compensation system; enforces Kansas employment standards, including wage and hour laws and child labor laws; provides assistance with workplace safety and health issues; and continues to gather and disseminate statistics on Kansas employment and other economic issues.