The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus (also known as novel coronavirus).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has resources to help employers and workers prepare for and respond to coronavirus in the workplace.
- OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 – Developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help employers respond in the event of coronavirus in the workplace.
- Temporary OSHA Guidance on Respiratory Protection Standard – This guidance provides suggestions and options to help increase the availability of N95 filtering facepiece respirators for healthcare providers.
- COVID-19 Webpage – Provides infection prevention information specifically for employers and workers.
Wages, Hours and Leave
The Wage and Hour Division is providing information on common issues employers and workers face when responding to COVID-19, including the effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities
NOTE: Check with your state’s unemployment insurance program regarding the rules in your state.
The Employment and Training Administration announced new guidance outlining state flexibilities in administering their unemployment insurance programs to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Under the guidance, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where:
- An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
- An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
- An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.
In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.
Support for Dislocated Workers and States
The Employment and Training Administration announced the availability of up to $100 million in National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grants to help states, territories, and tribal governments respond to the workforce-related impacts of COVID-19.
Job Corps Students
The Employment and Training Administration announced that it is initiating a break for students at all 121 Job Corps centers from March 16 through April 14, 2020. The spring break period may be extended beyond April 14, 2020.
Injured Federal Workers
The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has published guidance for federal employees outlining Federal Employees’ Compensation Act coverage as it relates to the novel coronavirus.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has issued a National Interest Exemption to facilitate response efforts for COVID-19.
Foreign Labor Certification
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19.
Flexibilities for Mine Operators
The Mine Safety and Health Administration will work with mine operators when it comes to the following recertifications:
- Annual refresher training certification (30 CFR Part 46)
- Surface and underground annual refresher training certification (30 CFR Part 48)
- Certified person; sampling (30 CFR §§ 70/71/90.202)
- Certified person; maintenance and calibration (30 CFR §§ 70/71/90.203)
Exemptions to recertifications will not be granted; however, their due dates will be extended by at least the time the government is operating under the President’s emergency declaration.
Please note: This exception does not apply to new miner training. New miners must be trained before beginning work. Once the Emergency Declaration is lifted, mine operators should work with their respective district offices to ensure that all certifications are conducted in a timely manner.
Supporting Workforce Needs in the Agricultural Sector
The U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a partnership to facilitate the identification of domestic and foreign workers that may be available to fulfill critical U.S. agricultural sector workforce needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor Announce Plan to Implement Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small and Midsize Businesses to Swiftly Recover the Cost of Providing Coronavirus-Related Leave (March 20, 2020)
- USDA and DOL Announce Information Sharing to Assist H-2A Employers (March 19, 2020)
- U.S. Department of Labor Announces Availability of Up to $100 Million In National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grants in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak (March 18, 2020)
- U.S. Department of Labor Takes Actions to Facilitate Response Efforts For COVID-19 Outbreak (March 17, 2020)
- U.S. Department of Labor Announces Temporary Pause In Job Corps Center Operations (March 17, 2020)
- U.S. Department of Labor Issues Temporary Enforcement Guidance for Respirator Fit-Testing in Healthcare during COVID-19 Outbreak (March 14, 2020)
- U.S. Department of Labor Announces New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities During COVID-19 Outbreak (March 12, 2020)
- U.S. Department of Labor Offers Guidance For Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus (March 9, 2020)
For further information about coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s coronavirus website.