November 20, 2020
U.S. Department of Labor Emphasizes Protecting Worker Safety and Pay During Holiday Season
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) remind employers of their responsibility to protect worker safety and pay during the holiday season.
As the nation enters a unique holiday shopping season, employers must ensure that they train all workers to recognize and prevent job hazards, and incorporate safe work practices to prevent exposure to the coronavirus. At the same time, employers must also familiarize themselves and comply with federal rules governing the payment of wages for temporary or seasonal workers.
“Throughout the holiday season, all employees, including seasonal workers, should be trained not only on how to perform their jobs safely, but also on how to stay safe from the coronavirus,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “Every worker deserves a safe and healthful workplace, whether they are packing boxes, stocking shelves, delivering products or selling merchandise.”
OSHA offers resources on holiday workplace safety for warehousing, delivery and retail workers. Guidance is also available for protecting workers from exposure to the coronavirus in retail and high customer-volume environments, stockrooms and loading docks, and package delivery. Additional information is available on workers’ rights, the protection of temporary and seasonal workers, as well as safety for young workers.
Temporary or seasonal employees hired to provide additional help have the right to a safe and healthful workplace, and to be paid for the work performed. With added seasonal hiring, employees unfamiliar with working in seasonal positions and employers unaccustomed to hiring part-time and/or seasonal employees may not be fully aware of the rules that regulate such work.
“While retail employees work hard during the holiday season to serve shoppers and help the economy thrive, they have bills to pay. We need to ensure workers are paid their rightful wages,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “With more temporary and part-time workers employed during the holidays, it’s important that we inform these workers and their employers about rules concerning work hours, wages and employment conditions, including their rights to paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”
WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Common holiday season labor violations include failing to pay salespeople and cashiers for time spent prepping or closing out a register; requiring stock room and warehouse personnel to work through breaks without compensation; and not providing overtime pay to employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek.
Learn more by viewing WHD’s guide for Seasonal Employment.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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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Megan Sweeney, 202-693-4661, Sweeney.Megan.P@dol.gov
Release Number: 20-2164-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The Department’s Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the Department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).