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 Eugene Scalia Highlights Economic Recovery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he highlighted the nation’s continuing economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
- Statement by Secretary Scalia on the Lost Wages Assistance Program – “President Trump has used every authority in his power to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Following his Presidential Memorandum, the Department of Labor quickly released important guidance to guide States as they implement the Lost Wages Assistance program, and the Department is working closely with our partners at FEMA to ensure States have the resources they need to continue supporting Americans temporarily out of work. I’m encouraged that these States moved quickly to implement benefits, and we are working with more States to help them provide continued benefits to Americans in need. We also appreciate that some States have determined that their strong re-opening and recovery removes the need for continued supplemental benefits.”
- U.S. Department of Labor Issues Additional Guidance for States on Lost Wages Assistance Program – The U.S. Department of Labor issued additional guidance to address questions raised by states about the Lost Wages Assistance program authorized by the Presidential Memorandum, Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019, issued on August 8, 2020.
Keeping America’s Workers Safe:
- U.S. Department of Labor and FDA Develop Checklist to Protect Food Industry Employees Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Food and Drug Administration have developed a checklist for human and animal food manufacturers to consider when continuing, resuming, or reevaluating operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Defending Workers’ Rights to Paid Leave and Wages Earned:
- Florida Trucking Company Pays Back Wages to Two Employees After Denying Paid Sick Leave Under Families First Coronavirus Response Act – After an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), a freight shipping and trucking company based in Hialeah, Florida has paid $3,110 in back wages to two employees for wrongly denying them emergency paid sick leave while they sought medical diagnosis for suspected coronavirus infection. Once their tests returned positive, the employer again denied the two employees’ requests for emergency paid sick leave. WHD investigators found that denials violated Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). After WHD contacted the company, the employer agreed to pay the back wages found due, grant the paid sick leave, and comply with the FFCRA’s requirements in the future.
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.