The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor unveiled a new program, “Essential Workers—Essential Protections,” that focuses on making sure employers comply with overtime and other wage requirements for workers on the frontline of battling the pandemic. Those positions include workers in grocery stores, healthcare, retail, delivery services and agriculture. The program will provide webinars and other training opportunities to learn about workers’ rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family Medical Leave Act. The DOL also encourages workers who believe that their rights are being violated to contact the Wage and Hour Division for assistance.
The DOL website provides a helpful list of answers to frequently asked questions. Some topics include how COVID-19 might affect agricultural workers and how a worker might request time off if a family member becomes sick. This should provide employers with insight on how the DOL will view these questions and may help you avoid some problems down the road.