The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on all of our lives. To assist our stakeholders, the Department of Labor has created guidance for employees, claimants, employers, insurance carriers, and other interested parties to address COVID-19 illnesses covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
This guidance is posted to the Division of Federal Employees, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DFELHWC) website Home Page. The guidance is in two sections as follows:
The guidance is also available at the following link:
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/owcp/dlhwc/FAQ/lsfaqs in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact your local Suboffice in the Eastern, Western and Southern compensation districts. The “Contact Us” page is available at the following link:
TO: All House and Senate Members
FROM: James Hart, President Metal Trades Department
SUBJECT: Legislative Memo Federal Employee / Government Contractors Issues (COVID-19)
Dear Member of Congress:
As Congress considers additional measures to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, urges all members of Congress to conduct collective and individual oversight of current enacted “Cares Act” legislative packages that both Houses of Congress overwhelmingly passed to help American workers. This is necessary as many enacted solutions relating to issues affecting workplace safety and employment conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are not being properly administered or carried out. Congress needs to do even more through legislation to help American workers during this pandemic crisis. However, it behooves the legislative branch to ensure that the new fixes currently enacted and in place are being correctly administered and benefitting the intended targets. I respectfully present the following issues for your information, attention and much needed remedy:
Many federal workers and government contractor employees are putting themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 to work on the frontlines of the public health response and continue essential public-facing services. We urge you to insist that the existing statute which provides for hazardous pay differentials for duties involving unusual hazards that are not typical for the job, and certainly describe the current situation for many workers be enforced and paid by all affected government agencies. We urge that you further legislate hazard pay authority to provide a 25% increase in basic pay for employees in frontline or public facingpositions.
Pay continuity for contractor employees
Section 3610 of the CARES Act authorizes federal agencies to use their funds to modify contracts in order to reimburse costs incurred by a contractor to provide paid leave to employees who cannot work due to facility closures or other restrictions. This provision enables agencies to keep their contractor workforce in a ready state to return to the job when that becomes possible.
Building upon OMB guidance for how agencies should determine whether and how to utilize this provision, we urge you to encourage the United States Air Force to maximize their use of this important new law.
1000 wage grade and salaried workers are laid off at Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma, Tennessee due to base closure. Adherence to this important provision of the law will provide pay continuity which will help mitigate the economic fallout from COVID-19 for contractor employees, their families, and surrounding communities. Personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies The failure of planning and preparation to ensure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) remains a significant concern for frontline workers across the country who cannot get the PPE they need to do their job safely. We have heard widespread alarm from federal and government contract employees who do not have the PPE they need, as well as concern about insufficient cleaning and disinfecting supplies for their workplaces. Congress has provided significant resources to address these needs for workers across the country, as well as appropriations for several agencies to procure the safety equipment and supplies needed for their workforces. All federal employees and contractors, like workers across the country, should have everything they need to stay safe on the job. We urge you to conduct oversight over federal agencies to ensure that all workers are properly protected from the silent killer which is this pandemic. On behalf of the Metal Trades Department, and its 17 International Union affiliates who represent 5 million members, I thank you for your time and consideration of these important matters. All federal workers and employees of government contractors deserve our full support now more than ever!
Download the full letter:
4.29.20 Congressional Fed Employee - Govt Contractor Legislative Memo
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote to Labor Secretary Scalia today, urging him to take immediate action to protect the safety and health of workers from exposure to COVID-19 on the job. The letter, written in memory of the our union brothers and sisters who have died from the disease, also highlights workers who have passed away from other work-related injuries and illnesses.
Download the full letter below.
RLT letter to Scalia.4.28.20 (1)
Letter to DOL Secretary Scalia urging urgent action to Protect Workers from COVID-19 exposures and infections
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
► PAID LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS
Generally, employers covered under the Act must provide employees: Up to two weeks (80 hours, or a part-time employee’s two-week equivalent) of paid sick leave based on the higher of their regular rate of pay, or the applicable state or Federal minimum wage, paid at:
- 100% for qualifying reasons #1-3 below, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total;
- 2/3 for qualifying reasons #4 and 6 below, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total; and
- Up to 10 weeks more of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at 2/3 for qualifying reason #5 below for up to $200 daily and $12,000 total.
A part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.
► ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES
In general, employees of private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees, and certain public sector employers, are eligible for up to two weeks of fully or partially paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons (see below). Employees who have been employed for at least 30 days prior to their leave request may be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave for reason #5 below.
► QUALIFYING REASONS FOR LEAVE RELATED TO COVID-19
An employee is entitled to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including unable to telework, because the employee:
- is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
- is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
- is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has the authority to investigate and enforce compliance with the FFCRA. Employers may not discharge, discipline, or oth erwise discriminate against any employee who lawfully takes paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA, files a complaint, or institutes a proceeding under or related to this Act. Employers in violation of the provisions of the FFCRA will be subject to penalties and enforcement by WHD.
On April 1, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued temporary regulations on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The 124-page document largely follows the previously published FAQs by the DOL, but it does set forth some additional clarifications on the requirements imposed on employees asking for leave and the documentation that employers need to maintain under the FFCRA.
- In order to apply for Paid Sick Leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) or Emergency Family and Medical Leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), employees must provide:
- Employee’s name;
- Date(s) for which leave is requested;
- Qualifying reason for the leave; and
- Oral or written statement that the employee is unable to work because of the qualified reason for leave.
- In order to take Paid Sick Leave due to a Federal, State or Local quarantine or isolation order, an employee must additionally provide the employer with the name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19. Where an employee is seeking the leave due to a health care provider’s advice to self-quarantine, an employee must provide the employer with the name of the health care provider who advised the employee to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- To take Paid Sick Leave in connection with Emergency Family and Medical Leave, an employee must additionally provide:
- the name of the son or daughter being cared for;
- the name of the school, place of care, or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and
- a representation that no other suitable person will be caring for the son or daughter during the period for which the employee takes Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave.
- Record Keeping – The DOL also explained that an employer is required to retain all documentation provided for four years, regardless whether leave was granted or denied. In addition, if an employee provides oral statements to support their time off under the EPSLA and EFMLEA, the employer is required to document and maintain this information its records for four years.