ICYMI: U.S. Department of Labor Acts to Help American Workers and Employers During the Coronavirus Pandemic
WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor took a range of actions to aid American workers and employers as our nation combats the coronavirus pandemic.
Reopening America’s Economy:
- U.S. Department of Labor Announces Guidance for the Lost Wages Assistance Program to Provide Needed Relief to Americans – The U.S. Department of Labor announced the release of guidance to help states implement the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. LWA is authorized by a Presidential Memorandum, and provides claimants in most Unemployment Insurance programs up to $400 per week of additional benefits, starting with weeks of unemployment ending on or after Aug. 1, 2020, and ending Dec. 27, 2020, at the latest. LWA will be administered by states and territories through a grant agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and with support from the Labor Department.
- U.S. Department of Labor Awards More than $1.3 Million to Delaware in Grants in Response to Coronavirus Public Health Emergency – The U.S. Department of Labor announced the award of $1,341,690 in a Dislocated Worker Grant to Delaware to help address the workforce-related impacts of the coronavirus public health emergency. This latest award follows eight previous waves of funding, bringing the total amount awarded to states and territories to $249,591,640.
- U.S. Department of Labor Announces $1.8 Million in Grants To Promote Short-Time Compensation in Missouri – The U.S. Department of Labor announced two grants, totaling $1,834,214, awarded to the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to improve and promote its Short-Time Compensation program. Using Short-Time Compensation, employers can keep workers on the payroll at reduced work hours and those workers can supplement their reduced wages with a partial unemployment benefit payment.
Keeping America’s Workers Safe
- U.S. Department of Labor and North American Meat Institute Establish Alliance to Protect Meatpacking Workers – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has signed an alliance with the North American Meat Institute to provide information, guidance, and access to training resources for protecting workers in the meatpacking and processing industry from exposures to the coronavirus.
Defending Workers’ Rights to Paid Leave and Wages Earned:
- Charlotte, North Carolina, Transportation Company Pays Back Wages To Employee Instructed to Self-Quarantine Due to Coronavirus Concerns – After an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division, a Charlotte, North Carolina a trucking and warehousing service has paid $3,116 in back wages after failing to provide an employee two weeks of paid sick leave after the worker received instructions from a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns.
- El Paso Plumbing Contractor Pays Back Wages to Employee After Denying Paid Leave to Care for Children Whose School Closed for Coronavirus – After an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division, a plumbing contractor based in El Paso, Texas has paid $804 in back wages to an employee wrongly denied paid sick leave for a qualifying reason covered under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
- U.S. Department of Labor Offers Webinar in Thai for Employers, Employees About Paid Sick Leave, Families First Coronavirus Response Act – The Wage and Hour Division offered a webinar on Aug. 13, 2020, on the benefits and protections provided by the FFCRA for employers and employees in Southern California’s Thai communities. Provided for Thai-speaking participants, the webinar focused on FFCRA requirements, including workers’ eligibility for paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave.
- U.S. Department of Labor Offers Webinar for Employers On Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave and Employee Safety – The Wage and Hour Division and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration presented a webinar for Ohio area employers and human resources professionals on the paid leave requirements of the FFCRA and safety guidance for returning to work and maintaining a safe and healthy working environment.
- LaGrange, Georgia, Firm Pays Back Wages to Employee Denied Paid Sick Leave After Doctor Directed Coronavirus-Related Quarantine – Following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division, a firm has paid $1,040 in back wages to an employee after failing to pay two weeks of paid sick leave after the worker was directed by a doctor to self-isolate due to coronavirus-related concerns. Investigators found that the firm violated the EPSLA provisions of the FFCRA, which requires covered employers to provide eligible workers two weeks of paid sick leave under those circumstances.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Labor is focused on protecting the safety and health of American workers, assisting our state partners as they deliver traditional unemployment and expanded unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, ensuring Americans know their rights to new paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave, providing guidance and assistance to employers, and carrying out the mission of the Department.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.