Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
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 Scalia Addresses Economic Re-Opening And Workplace Safety during Visit to Florida – Secretary Scalia traveled to Jacksonville, Florida to discuss the continued re-opening of the economy and to highlight the importance of workplace safety during the re-opening. He participated in a roundtable discussion with local business and civic leaders, and visited Crowley Maritime, where he met with company executives and employees. Secretary Scalia remarked, “The business leaders I spoke with in Florida today recognize the importance of workplace safety and health as we re-open businesses and the economy. I would like to thank Governor Ron DeSantis for joining me today and for his leadership as Florida focuses on a safe reopening.”
- U.S. Department of Labor Awards More Than $90 Million in Grants to Help Justice-Involved Individuals Enter the Workforce – Secretary Scalia traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to announce $90 million in reentry grants with Pathway Home grant awardee Volunteers of America of Massachusetts. Secretary Scalia stated, “President Trump and his Administration believe in providing a second chance to Americans who have served their time in the criminal justice system. These grants reflect this commitment to helping all Americans find jobs and participate meaningfully in the economy. The assistance the grants provide to men and women transitioning back into society will be especially valuable as we overcome the economic challenges posed by coronavirus."
Keeping America’s Workplaces Safe and Healthy:
- U.S. Department of Labor Using Public Service Announcements and Billboards to Promote Worker Safety and Health Amid Coronavirus – OSHA has undertaken a public service messaging effort to remind workers that the agency is committed to ensuring their safety and health during the coronavirus pandemic. The billboards and announcements are OSHA’s latest efforts to educate and protect American workers and help employers provide healthy workplaces as the coronavirus pandemic evolves. OSHA has published numerous alerts and advisories for various industries, including Guidance on Returning to Work, which assists employers as they reopen businesses and as employees return to work.
- U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance to Employers to Help Protect Oil and Gas Workers During the Coronavirus Pandemic – OSHA has released coronavirus-related guidance to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus for oil and gas workers. Employers with workers engaged in the oil and gas industry should remain alert to changing conditions and implement infection prevention measures accordingly.
- U.S. Department of Labor Issues Poster to Keep Meat Packing, Poultry And Pork Workers Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic – OSHA has issued a new poster listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect meat packing, poultry, and pork workers from exposure to coronavirus. The poster highlights nine infection prevention measures employers can implement during the coronavirus pandemic. Safety measures include encouraging sick workers to stay home, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between workers, installing partitions along the production line, discouraging workers from sharing equipment and tools, and avoiding the gathering of workers during break periods.
Defending Workers’ Rights to Paid Leave and Wages Earned:
- Pennsylvania Machine Shop to Pay Back Wages After Denying Employee Paid Sick Leave Request During Coronavirus Pandemic – A compliance action by the Wage and Hour Division has led an employer to grant paid sick leave and pay back wages to an employee who requested leave to provide child care due to a coronavirus-related school closing. The agency determined that the employee was entitled to receive paid leave at two-thirds his or her regular rate of pay for up to 12 weeks under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
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.