Navigating Workforce Evolution: Insights into the Wagner-Peyser Act Staffing Final Rule

In a development impacting the workforce development landscape, the U.S. Department of Labor has announced the release of the Wagner-Peyser Act Staffing Final Rule. This Training and Employment Notice (TEN) serves as a comprehensive guide on the purpose, key changes, and implications of the final rule.

Purpose and Action Requested:

The primary purpose of this TEN is to announce the publication of the Wagner-Peyser Act Staffing final rule, bringing about crucial changes to the regulations governing the Wagner-Peyser Act Employment Service (ES). States are urged to familiarize themselves with the revisions and plan for implementation as part of their Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Unified or Combined State Plan submission for 2026.


Published on November 24, 2023, the Wagner-Peyser Act Staffing Final Rule mandates the use of state merit staff for all ES services, with exceptions for Colorado, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Strengthening provisions for migrant or seasonal farmworkers (MSFWs) and enhancing the Monitor Advocate System and Complaint System are key components of the final rule.


The Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933 established the ES program, aiming to improve labor markets by matching job seekers with employers. The January 2020 Wagner-Peyser Act Staffing Flexibility Final Rule removed the requirement for ES services to be exclusively provided by state merit staff. The April 2022 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposed reinstating the use of state merit staff, leading to the current final rule.

Final Rule Changes:

The Federal Register detailed the Wagner-Peyser Act Staffing Final Rule changes, impacting state merit staffing and MSFW-related ES regulations. Notable changes include requiring state merit staff for all ES services, revisions to terms and definitions, strengthening MSFW outreach and services, empowering State Monitor Advocates (SMAs) and enhancing their role, improving MSFW data recording, and revising responsibilities of ETA Regional and National Offices.

Impact on Workforce Professionals:

The final rule’s implementation timeline spans 24 months from its effective date (January 23, 2024) to the compliance deadline (January 22, 2026). Workforce professionals are encouraged to review the full text of the final rule and stay informed about the changes to ensure compliance.


The Wagner-Peyser Act Staffing Final Rule marks a significant shift in the delivery of ES services, emphasizing the use of state merit staff and reinforcing support for MSFWs. Workforce professionals must proactively engage with the final rule’s details, ensuring their state’s compliance while prioritizing equity, inclusion, and improved services for the nation’s workforce.