Department of Labor Acts to Help American Workers, Employers During COVID-19

WASHINGTON, DC (STL.News) 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:

  1. Statement by U.S. Secretary of Labor Scalia on the September Jobs Report – U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia issued the following statement on the September 2020 Employment Situation Report: “Today’s report shows 877,000 private-sector jobs added back in September, and an additional 145,000 jobs from July and August.  However, the report reflects a seasonally-adjusted loss of 350,000 jobs in public and private education.  Large gains were made in lower-wage jobs in retail and leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing added 66,000 jobs, its largest increase since June.  More than half the jobs lost from the pandemic have now been restored, and the third quarter ended with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, half the 15.8 percent third quarter unemployment rate projected by the Congressional Budget Office in May.”
  2. U.S. Secretary of Labor Scalia Highlights Economic Recovery in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York – “These two days of travel along Lake Erie have given me opportunities to witness the determination and resilience of American workers and business owners.  President Trump’s policy decisions before and during the pandemic, which included tax cuts, deregulation, and reciprocal trade agreements like the USMCA, positioned us for a strong economic recovery.”
  3. U.S. Department of Labor Awards $118 Million In Dislocated Worker Grants to Address the Coronavirus – The U.S. Department of Labor announced the award of additional funding for 15 Dislocated Worker Grants totaling $118,034,389 to help address the workforce-related impacts of the coronavirus public health emergency.  This additional funding is being provided using the Dislocated Worker Grant National Reserve Funds.

Keeping America’s Workplaces Safe and Healthy:

  1. U.S. Department of Labor Issues Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Reporting Work-Related Cases of the Coronavirus – OSHA has published additional frequently asked questions and answers regarding the need to report employees’ in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities resulting from work-related cases of the coronavirus.
  2. U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Announces $484,069 In Coronavirus Violations – OSHA has cited 37 establishments for violations, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $484,069.
  3. U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance for Using Tight-Fitting Powered Air Purifying Respirators Amid Coronavirus Pandemic – OSHA has issued temporary guidance for enforcing initial and annual fit-testing requirements related to tight-fitting powered air-purifying respirators.  The action marks the Department’s latest step to ensure the availability of respirators and follows President Donald J. Trump’s Memorandum on Making General Use Respirators Available.

Defending Workers’ Rights to Paid Leave and Wages Earned:

  1. Sleep Product Manufacturer Pays Back Wages to Tennessee Employee Wrongly Denied Paid Sick Leave After Coronavirus Diagnosis – A Columbus, Ohio-based sleep product manufacturer has paid $868 in back wages after wrongly denying emergency paid sick leave to an employee at its Gallatin, Tennessee, location who self-quarantined after receiving a coronavirus diagnosis.
    Georgia Home Security Company Pays Back Wages to Employee Wrongly Denied Paid Sick Leave After Coronavirus Diagnosis – A Covington, Georgia-based home security company has paid $1,153 in back wages after wrongly denying emergency paid sick leave to an employee who self-quarantined after receiving a coronavirus diagnosis.
  2. 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.


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