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. Secretary of Labor Announces Award of Nearly $20 Million To Combat Opioid Crisis – U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia announced the award of nearly $20 million in funding to four states as part of a new pilot program to address the health and economic impacts of widespread substance and opioid misuse, addiction and overdose by providing retraining and other services to workers in communities significantly impacted by the opioid crisis. The grantees are the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Maryland Department of Labor, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
Defending Workers’ Rights to Paid Leave and Wages Earned:
- As Schools Reopen, U.S. Department Of Labor Answers Questions About Eligibility for Paid Leave and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – The Wage and Hour Division and Employment and Training Administration both published guidance related to the reopening of schools. This guidance complements a robust and growing library of resources and tools both agencies provide for workers and employers as they navigate the changes in the workplace brought on by the coronavirus.
- U.S. Department Of Labor Issues Guidance to Clarify Employers’ Obligations To Track Teleworkers’ Compensable Hours – “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans are teleworking and working variable schedules than ever before to balance their jobs with a myriad of family obligations, such as remote learning for their children and many others. This has presented unique challenges to employers with regard to how to track work time accurately,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “[This] guidance is one more tool the Wage and Hour Division is putting forward to ensure that workers are paid all the wages they have earned, and that employers have all the tools they need as they navigate what may, for many, be uncharted waters of managing remote workers.”
- Restaurant Chain Pays $115,966 in Back Wages After Coronavirus Closures Lead to Missed Payroll – After an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division a restaurant chain has paid $115,966 in back wages to 160 employees for minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at two locations.
- Oklahoma Restaurant Operator Pays Back Wages After Denying Paid Sick Leave To Employee Advised to Self-Quarantine By Medical Provider – After an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division, an operator of a franchise has paid $1,653 in back wages to an employee after the employer wrongly denied the employee’s request for paid sick leave to fulfill a healthcare provider’s order to self-quarantine for two weeks due to the coronavirus.
- Minneapolis Day Care Pays 28 Employees $19,447 in Back Wages After Denying Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act – The Wage and Hour Division determined an operator of childcare facilities denied paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to workers who qualified for the benefit, and, in some cases, required employees to use accrued personal time off instead of granting paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). In other cases, the employer required employees to take leave without pay when they were in fact qualified for paid time off under the FFCRA. Once notified of its obligations by the Wage and Hour Division, the employer paid the back wages.
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, 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.