WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced actions it is taking to assist Americans in states affected by Hurricane Laura. In response to the anticipated needs of those living in states in the path of Hurricane Laura, the Department and its agencies are taking the following actions: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has actively engaged with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies and is prepared to provide assistance; 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 Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is prepared to provide Disaster Dislocated Worker Grants to help affected states address workforce needs. The disbursement of funds will be determined as needs are assessed by state and local partners. ETA is also prepared to assist in administering Disaster Unemployment Assistance; The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will coordinate with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Treasury, the IRS and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. on the release of compliance guidance for employee benefit plans, and plan participants and beneficiaries in response to Hurricane Laura. General information on disaster relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is available on EBSA’s website at Disaster Relief Information for Employers and Advisers and Disaster Relief Information for Workers and Families, or by contacting EBSA online or by calling 1-866-444-3272; The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a Temporary Exemption from certain federal contracting requirements. For a period of three months, from August 27, 2020, to November 27, 2020, new federal contracts to provide relief, clean-up or rebuilding efforts will be exempt from having to develop written affirmative action programs as required by Executive Order 11246; The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is responding to Hurricane Laura’s impact on mines, and stands ready to respond more generally with specialized equipment and personnel; and The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) is working with its grantees to identify further flexibilities and additional funding needs for its programs. VETS staff is prepared to assist employers, members of the National Guard and Reserves and members of the National Disaster Medical System and Urban Search and Rescue who deploy in support of rescue and recovery operations.
The Department will continue to monitor developments regarding Hurricane Laura and take additional actions as necessary. For additional information, please visit the Department’s Severe Storm and Flood Recovery Assistance webpage. 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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