The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is issuing grants, OSHA is suspending enforcement activity and federal contractor requirements are being waived, all in an effort to assist with and expedite post-Harvey recovery efforts.
The DOL has awarded $30 million in Dislocated Worker Grants to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and will, according to U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, “continue to partner with Texas as the state assesses its workforce needs.”
OSHA has announced that it will cease enforcement actions in the affected areas in order to avoid disrupting recovery operations. Instead, an OSHA Emergency Response Team (ERT) will provide compliance assistance and work with FEMA, the EPA and the Department of Homeland Security in the recovery effort.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is also sending personnel and equipment to assist FEMA in recovery efforts.
Additional federal agency action:
- The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is temporarily suspending select federal contractor requirements, allowing businesses involved in hurricane relief the ability to prioritize recovery efforts.
- The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is assisting Texas in administering Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
- The Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) is temporarily waiving certain requirements and deadlines related to retirement and health insurance plans for employers, employees and others who may have trouble meeting them due to Hurricane Harvey.
- EBSA is working with the Internal Revenue Service to make it easier for workers to get loans and distributions from 401(k) and other retirement plans, and is temporarily waiving certain employer requirements and deadlines related to employee benefit plans.
Public Service Announcements in English and Spanish will be broadcast in Texas during recovery efforts.