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June 28, 2020

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:

  • Statement by U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia On President Trump's Proclamation – “From his first days in office, one of President Trump's top priorities has been protecting and supporting American workers and their families. [The] Presidential Proclamation will help ensure that the millions of Americans who are unemployed due to the coronavirus are first in line to fill job openings.”
  • U.S. Secretary of Labor Scalia Highlights American Economic Recovery In Dallas, Texas – Secretary Eugene Scalia traveled to Dallas, Texas where he joined the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce for a roundtable discussion with local business leaders on safely reopening the economy. He also visited American Leather to meet with both employees and company leadership about the nationwide economic recovery.
  • Secretary Scalia Participates in the Joint National Council for the American Worker and American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting – Secretary Scalia joined President Trump, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, and private sector leaders for the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board at the White House. The President signed an Executive Order prioritizing skills rather than degrees in federal hiring.

Keeping America's Workplaces Safe and Healthy:

Defending Workers' Rights to Paid Leave and Wages Earned:

  • U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Child Labor; Paid Sick And Expanded Family and Medical Leave Amid School and Camp Closures – With school and summer activity schedules greatly altered as America continues to re-open in the wake of the coronavirus, the Wage and Hour Division issued two Field Assistance Bulletins to clarify issues relevant to the pandemic's effects on the workplace. The bulletins issued specifically address the following:
    • The assessment of when schools that are physically closed for coronavirus-related reasons are considered “in session” for purposes of federal child labor requirements
    • Paid sick or expanded family and medical leave eligibility under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) based on the closure of summer camps, summer enrichment programs, or other summer programs
  • Delivery Contractor Pays Back Wages After Wrongly Denying Paid Sick Leave to Employee Ordered to Quarantine – Wage and Hour Division investigators found that an employer failed to pay an employee paid sick leave despite a healthcare provider's order for the employee to self-quarantine for two weeks. The FFCRA allows employees to take leave when advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine or while experiencing coronavirus symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. The employer cooperated fully with investigators and, once it understood its responsibility under the new law, agreed to pay the employee's full wages for the days quarantined.

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 under the CARES Act, 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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Media Contacts:

Emily Weeks, 202-693-4681,

Release Number: 20-1322-NAT

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