WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta joined U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and other cabinet officials, in Texas to survey the affected areas, consult with state and local officials, and offer support and gratitude to first responders.
“In the midst of this catastrophe, the people of Texas have persevered to help their friends, neighbors, and all individuals in their communities. Across our nation, Americans are uniting to help those who have been affected by this storm,” said Secretary Acosta. “The U.S. Department of Labor has approved $30 million in grants and will continue to partner with Texas as the state assesses its workforce needs. I am proud to stand with the President, Vice President, and the entire Administration to support Texas.”
The Department of Labor is supporting Texas’ response to Hurricane Harvey. These efforts include:
- A total of $30 million in Dislocated Worker Grants have been awarded to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). A grant for $10 million was awarded on Monday, August 28, 2017, and an additional grant for $20 million was awarded on Thursday, August 31, 2017.
- The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is assisting Texas in administering Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
- The Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) is temporarily waiving certain requirements and deadlines related to retirement and health insurance plans for employers, employees and others who may have trouble meeting them due to Hurricane Harvey.
- EBSA is working with the Internal Revenue Service to make it easier for workers to get loans and distributions from 401(k) and other retirement plans, and is temporarily waiving certain employer requirements and deadlines related to employee benefit plans.
- The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is temporarily suspending select federal contractor requirements, allowing businesses involved in hurricane relief the ability to prioritize recovery efforts.
- The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is sending personnel and equipment to assist FEMA in recovery efforts.
- The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) is working with its grantees to identify flexibilities requested or additional funding needs for its programs, including the Texas Veterans Commission, which administers the Jobs for Veterans State Grants program; affected Homeless Veterans Reintegration Programs (HVRP) grantees; and affected military bases where Employment Workshops are taught.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is helping employers keep their workers safe during cleanup and recovery operations by providing a number of resources.
- Programmed OSHA enforcement actions will cease in the affected areas to avoid disrupting recovery operations. An OSHA Emergency Response Team (ERT) will provide compliance assistance.
- OSHA is actively engaged with the National Response Team and the interagency response to the hurricane and flooding. It is working with the FEMA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies to coordinate strategies for the recovery.
- Public Service Announcements in English and Spanish will be broadcast in Texas during recovery efforts.
As the situation on the ground develops, the Department will monitor activities and take additional actions as necessary.