Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces Assistance for California Wildfires Recovery
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced actions it is taking to assist Americans in California affected by devastating wildfires.
"The Department of Labor is actively engaged in Administration efforts to help those impacted by devastating wildfires in California," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. "As Californians come together to help their friends, neighbors, and all individuals who have been affected recover, the Department of Labor is committed to supporting the American worker."
U.S. Department of Labor actions taken in response to the California wildfires include the following:
- The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is prepared to provide Disaster Dislocated Worker Grants to help California assess workforce needs. The disbursement of funds will be determined as needs are assessed by state and local partners. ETA is assisting in administering Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
- The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released guidance for employee benefit plan participants and beneficiaries in the wake of the 2018 California wildfires.
- The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has temporarily suspended select federal contractor requirements, allowing businesses involved in wildfire relief the ability to prioritize recovery efforts.
- The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is responding to wildfires' impact on mines, and stands ready to respond more generally with specialized equipment and personnel.
- The Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) is working with its grantees to identify flexibility and additional funding needs for its programs. VETS will provide assistance to employers, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and members of the National Disaster Medical System and Urban Search and Rescue service who may be deployed in support of rescue and recovery operations.
- The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is prioritizing all calls in the affected areas to continue to provide uninterrupted service to workers and employers.
- The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) issued a special enforcement advisory that would temporarily ease reporting and other regulatory burdens on labor organizations, labor relations consultants, and employers affected by the California wildfires.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is actively engaged with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies. California enforces worker health and safety requirements in the state; OSHA stands ready to assist affected areas upon request.