In a news release last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced actions it is taking to assist Americans in states affected by Hurricane Michael. Here is a roundup of what’s happening in the wake of the disaster.
“The Department of Labor is actively engaged in Administration-wide efforts to help those impacted by Hurricane Michael,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “As Americans come together to help each other, the Department of Labor is committed to supporting recovery efforts.”
DOL actions taken regarding Hurricane Michael include the following:
- The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is prepared to provide Disaster Dislocated Worker Grants to help affected states assess workforce needs. The disbursement of funds will be determined as needs are assessed by state and local partners. ETA is assisting in administering Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
- The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is coordinating with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, on the release of compliance guidance for employee benefit plans, and plan participants and beneficiaries, in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
- The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is prepared to temporarily suspend select federal contractor requirements, allowing businesses involved in hurricane relief the ability to prioritize recovery efforts.
- The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is responding to Hurricane Michael’s impact on mines, and stands ready to respond more generally with specialized equipment and personnel.
- The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) is working with its grantees to identify flexibility and additional funding needs for its programs. VETS staff is prepared to offer assistance to employers, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and members of the National Disaster Medical System and Urban Search and Rescue service who may be deployed in support of rescue and recovery operations.
- The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) will be prioritizing all calls in the affected areas to continue to provide uninterrupted service to workers and employers.
- The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) issued a special enforcement advisory that would temporarily ease reporting and other regulatory burdens on labor organizations, labor relations consultants, and employers affected by Hurricane Michael.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is actively engaged with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies and is prepared to provide assistance.
- Most OSHA programmed enforcement actions will cease in the affected areas and compliance assistance will be available during the recovery effort. OSHA will continue to respond to fatal workplace and life altering injuries.
- OSHA is actively engaged with the intergovernmental response.
- Public Service Announcements – in English and Spanish – have been prepared for broadcast emphasizing the need to work safely in affected areas during recovery efforts. Other hurricane recovery safety materials are available at OSHA.gov.
The Department will continue to monitor developments regarding Hurricane Michael and take additional actions as necessary. For additional information, please visit the Department’s Severe Storm and Flood Recovery Assistance webpage.