ICYMI: U.S. Department of Labor Acts to Help American Workers and Employers During the Coronavirus Pandemic
WASHINGTON, DC –The U.S. Department of Labor took a range of actions last week to aid American workers and employers as our nation combats the coronavirus pandemic.
As the week progressed, many more states began delivering unemployment benefits to those who are temporarily out of work, including independent contractors and gig workers, and Department staff continued to work closely with states across the country. By week’s end, more than two-thirds of states were providing the CARES Act’s enhanced $600 benefit. U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employment and Training Administration John Pallasch hosted a press call with dozens of reporters from around the country to provide an update on states’ implementation of the unemployment program. Also last week, the Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released several documents regarding enforcement and compliance assistance efforts to keep American workers safe.
“This is a challenging time for workers and their families as millions of Americans make sacrifices for the well-being of neighbors, co-workers, and country,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia during the press call Wednesday. “We quickly issued rules and guidance that provide a roadmap to States, employers, and workers so our economy can outlast this virus and workers can receive the benefits they are entitled to. All of our Labor Department agencies are participating in the important work of supporting the workforce during these difficult times.”
The below list includes links to access these important resources.
On Unemployment Insurance:
- Statement by Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia on Unemployment Insurance Claims – Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia issued a statement regarding Unemployment Insurance claims, noting the report “reflects the continuing impact of the important public health measures being taken to defeat the coronavirus.”
- New Frequently Asked Questions on Unemployment Benefits have been posted – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration published new guidance for Americans who have questions about unemployment benefits.
Funding for Dislocated Workers:
- U.S. Department of Labor Awards More Than $131 Million in Dislocated Worker Grants in Response to Coronavirus Public Health Emergency – The U.S. Department of Labor announced the award of the first installment of 26 Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs) totaling $131,384,557 to help address the workforce-related impacts of the coronavirus public health emergency. These awards, provided by the CARES Act, create temporary jobs that employ individuals to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Keeping America’s Workplaces Safe and Healthy:
- U.S. Department of Labor Issues Alert to Help Keep Manufacturing Workers Safe During Coronavirus Pandemic – OSHA issued an alert identifying workplace safety practices to help protect manufacturing workers from exposure to coronavirus.
- U.S. Department of Labor Announces OSHA Interim Enforcement Response Plan to Protect Workers During The Coronavirus Pandemic – OSHA announced an interim enforcement response plan for the coronavirus pandemic that provides instructions and guidance to OSHA Area Offices and compliance safety and health officers for handling coronavirus-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports. The plan concentrates enforcement on coronavirus exposures of health workers, emergency responders, and others.
- U.S. Department of Labor Considers Employer’s Good Faith Efforts When Enforcing Compliance During COVID-19 Pandemic – OSHA issued interim guidance that advises compliance safety and health officers to evaluate an employer’s good faith efforts to comply with safety and health standards during the coronavirus pandemic. Employers are also expected to take corrective action as soon as possible once normal activities resume.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Labor is focused on 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 employees, 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.