Labor Department Hosts Online Dialogue On Reopening U.S. Workplaces

The U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a national online dialogue on “Opening America’s Workplaces Again,” to solicit ideas from the public on how best to help employers and workers safely reopen America’s workplaces. The dialogue is running from April 30 through May 7.

The public—including employers, workers, local authorities and advocacy groups—is invited to share ideas on six topics: reopening businesses, commuting safely, working safely, accommodating members of vulnerable populations, supporting America’s families and reducing regulatory burdens.

Ideas and feedback collected during the dialogue will be used by the department as it continues to develop compliance assistance materials and guidance for workers and employers, and will be shared with policymakers at the federal, state and local level as they develop and refine plans on reopening U.S. workplaces.

At the U.S. Department of Labor, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has issued extensive guidance to help workers and employers protect their workplace, and the agency has received more than 2,600 workplace safety complaints, which it will investigate. The department’s Wage and Hour Division has issued guidance and aided businesses nationwide that are implementing new paid leave laws under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The department’s Employment and Training Administration has provided guidance, technical support and emergency administrative funding for states who are implementing enhanced unemployment benefits provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

As the department continues to develop guidance and information to assist workers and employers, it is seeking to draw on the public’s ideas about challenges that may be faced as businesses re-open. The Labor Department reports that thousands of workers and employers have communicated with it since the start of the crisis, and this dialogue provides an opportunity for even more voices to contribute to the department’s ongoing response as circumstances on the ground continue to change.

“We’ve already seen the positive effect of the U.S. Department of Labor’s actions and guidance on the workers and employers trying to navigate the coronavirus crisis,” says U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “As we continue to produce plans and guidance for safely and thoughtfully reopening the economy, we encourage all Americans to contribute their ideas and share their challenges through this online dialogue.”

Deputy Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella adds, “This innovative national online dialogue seeks input from key stakeholders about how best to reopen America’s workplaces while maximizing worker and customer safety. It’s an important discussion that will help offices across the department effectively plan, focus strategies and develop materials.”

The department’s Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI) is hosting the dialogue in partnership with OSHA, WHD, the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, its Employee Benefits Security Administration, its Employment and Training Administration, its Office of Disability Employment Policy, its Veterans’ Employment and Training Service and its Women’s Bureau. Register to participate here.

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