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Training On Labor Standards Requirements For Federally Funded Construction And Federal Service Contractors Set For September 2020

August 05, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) will offer virtual compliance assistance seminars for contracting agencies, contractors, unions, workers, and other stakeholders to provide information about the legal requirements to pay prevailing wages on federally funded construction and service contracts.

The training is the latest in WHD’s ongoing efforts to increase awareness and improve compliance with federal prevailing wage requirements among employers performing work on federally funded construction or services contracts. The seminars will include video training on a variety of Davis-Bacon Act and Service Contract Act topics that will be provided to participants after registration for self-paced study before live, interactive question and answer sessions. WHD experts will field questions during these live sessions, and lead discussions about topics participants raise.

WHD offers the live portions of these seminars at the following dates and times:

Davis-Bacon Act Virtual Prevailing Wage Seminar

  • September 9, 2020, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT; or
  • September 15, 2020, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dol-davis-bacon-act-virtual-prevailing-wage-seminar-tickets-110203122506

Service Contract Act Virtual Prevailing Wage Seminar

  • September 10, 2020, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT; or
  • September 16, 2020, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dol-service-contract-act-virtual-prevailing-wage-seminar-tickets-111345776214

While seminar attendance is free, registration is required.

WHD Provides Additional Contractor Guidance Concerning COVID-19

August 05, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released additional guidance concerning the use of paid sick leave on certain federal contracts under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act or expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). The guidance offers compliance support to businesses with federal service contracts covered by the Service Contract Act and federal construction contracts covered by the Davis-Bacon Act.

The guidance, laid out in a Question and Answer format, helps clarify contractor obligations. The guidance is available at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/sca-questions. Additionally, the WHD offers information on everyday matters businesses and workers face when responding to COVID-19 and its effects on wages and hours at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.

Wage and Hour Issues Additional Guidance on Workplaces Laws

July 31, 2020

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently published additional guidance for employers and workers on how the requirements and protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Standards Act (FLSA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) affect the workplace. The WHD understands how critically important this information is to employers and workers.

This guidance is the latest addition to compliance assistance materials that address critical issues in all three laws. The information provided includes a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and a Questions and Answers resource about paid sick and expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA.

WHD has also released two FFCRA guidance posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, and offers simple Quick Benefits Tips to determine how much paid leave the FFCRA allows employees to take.

Furthermore, WHD provides employers and employees information on everyday issues they face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked under the FLSA and job-protected leave under the FMLA at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

U.S. DOL Announces 2020 SCA Fringe Rate

July 16, 2020

The Health & Welfare Fringe Benefit Rates will remain $4.54 for those affected Service Contract Act wage determinations.

The low-level (employee-by-employee) benefit will remain $4.54 per hour or $181.60 per week or $786.93 per month. Also, Wage and Hour Division (WHD) will continue to issue SCA wage determinations based on the average cost method of compliance. The high-level (average cost) benefit rate will remain $4.54 per hour.

Additional SCA Health & Welfare Fringe Benefit Rate Information

All service contracts that contain paid sick leave (EO 13706) will utilize the lower fringe rate of $4.22 SCA health & welfare benefit rate.

Click here for more information.

May 2020 Public Construction Spending Increases

July 14, 2020

The U.S. Census Bureau announced construction spending for May 2020 was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 1,356 billion, 2.1% below the revised estimate in April. Compared to 2019, May 2020 total spending is up 0.3%. Also, during the first five months of 2020, construction spending amounted to $ 543 billion, 5.7% above the $ 514 billion for the same period in 2019.

While private construction spending in May was $ 1,001 billion, 3.3% below the revised April estimate of $ 1,035 billion, public construction spending was $ 355 billion, 1.2% above last month’s revised estimates of $351 billion.

Compared to May 2019, public construction spending was up 4.9%. The most significant contributor on a percentage basis to the increase during that past 12 months, is construction spending for public safety, which was $14 million, 44.2% above the $10 million for the same period in 2019. Also contributing to public spending growth in May from the previous month is Highway construction, which was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $107 billion up 2.8% from the revised April estimate of $104 billion.

More information may be found at: https://www.census.gov/construction/c30/pdf/release.pdf

DC Paid Family Leave

July 14, 2020

On July 1st, the District of Columbia (DC) Office of Paid Family Leave (OPFL) began working with employers and workers to administer the paid leave benefits under the DC Paid Family Leave Act (the Act). The Act is an insurance program that governs whether a worker will be eligible for paid leave benefits.

The Paid Leave Act provides up to 8 weeks to bond with a new child, six weeks to care for a family member with a severe health condition, and two weeks to care for your serious health condition. Employees may take any combination of family, parental, and/or medical leave up to the limits stated in a 52-week period. The Paid family leave may be taken intermittently; however, the combined leave total may not exceed eight weeks in the 52 weeks.

A qualifying business is any business performing services in DC that pays unemployment insurance (UI) taxes for its employees.  Once an employer has paid UI tax for one fiscal quarter for their worker, they will automatically be recognized as a covered employee for paid family leave. The paid leave benefits are paid by the DC government and funded by a quarterly employer payroll tax.

The OPFL will be hosting outreach and engagement events that include the Paid Family Leave webinars on:

Thursday, July 16, 2020

PFL Webinar

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. EST

REGISTER HERE

Thursday, July 30, 2020

PFL Webinar

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. EST

REGISTER HERE

WHD Announces Job Openings to Assist with Federal Requirements

July 07, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced that they would be hiring 55 additional investigators and eight technicians to support their efforts to ensure that employers meet their federal compliance requirements. These recruits will join 92 investigators recently hired or awaiting placement and 28 technicians that WHD hired at the beginning of 2020.

Last year, WHD conducted a record-setting 3,700 public events to educate employers and workers about their workplace responsibilities and rights. Also, the division collected a record-setting $322 million in wages owed to employees.

WHD Administrator Cheryl Stanton noted that “in addition to enforcing long-standing protections, they now are enforcing the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave protections in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”

Those hired as investigators are responsible for conducting investigations to establish employers’ compliance with pertinent federal labor laws, while the technicians will provide front-line support for these efforts. Technicians also handle the receipt and evaluation of incoming complaints and ensure compliance information for employees, employers, and other stakeholders.

OSHA Issues Guidance for Reopening Non-Essential Businesses

July 07, 2020

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued recent guidance to help employers and workers in safely returning to work and reopening businesses regarded by local authorities as “non-essential businesses” during the evolving coronavirus pandemic. Employers are encouraged to use this guidance to develop policies and procedures to ensure their employees’ safety and health.

The guidance supplements previous information released from the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ and the White House and focuses on general principles for updating restrictions initially put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

OSHA points out that while state and local governments lift shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, Non-essential businesses should reopen and continue to follow to public health requirements and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies.

The guidance notes that through each phase of the reopening process, employers should continue to develop policies and procedures for social distancing, basic hygiene, identification and isolation of sick employees, and employee training. Additionally, employers are encouraged to consider ways to use workplace flexibilities, such as remote work and alternative business operations, to provide goods and services to customers.

OSHA recommends that employers continually monitor federal, state, and local government guidelines for updated information about ongoing community transmission and mitigation measures, as well as for emerging guidance on disinfection and other best practices for employee protection.

For guidance, details visit https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA4045.pdf

WHD Cancels In-Person Prevailing Wage Seminars in 2020

July 07, 2020

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced they would not be hosting in-person Prevailing Wage (PW) seminars for the rest of 2020. The cancelation of in-person workshops is due to safety and health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, the WHD plans to offer virtual PW seminars that will provide training and outreach on topics such as the Service Contract Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, Executive Orders 13658 and 13706, wage determinations, and conformances, and compliance assistance and enforcement processes.

Additional updates on virtual seminar dates and registration will be coming soon. For more information and compliance assistance resources on prevailing wages, please visit the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts webpage.

OSHA Issues Memorandum to Further Address COVID-19 Crisis

July 07, 2020

On May 19th, 2020, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published both the Revised Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of COVID-19 as well as the Updated Interim Enforcement Plan. These memoranda demonstrate that OSHA is applying its enforcement efforts to assure employers and workers during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The Revised Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases provides interim guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for the recording of occupational illnesses, specifically cases of COVID-19. Because of the challenge with determining work-relatedness, OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion to assess employers’ efforts in making work-related determinations.

The Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan stipulates guidance and instructions to Area Offices and compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) for handling COVID-19-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports. These updates are to take effect on May 26th, rescinding previous memorandums and are intended to be time-limited to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the updated plan, “where community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased,” OSHA will prioritize inspections per its pre-COVID-19 policy, returning to the status quo. In geographic regions where community spread has elevated or resurged, OSHA will “continue prioritizing COVID-19 fatalities and imminent danger exposures for inspection.” Other than the “geographic area” framework, the enforcement plan outlined in the April 10th guidance largely remains intact.

For more details visit  https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-05-19/revised-enforcement-guidance-recording-cases-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19  and  https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-05-19/updated-interim-enforcement-response-plan-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19