ISSA Advocacy Recap—OSHA Issues Stronger COVID-19 Workplace Guidance

January 29, 2021 ISSA Advocacy Recap—OSHA Issues Stronger COVID-19 Workplace Guidance

Welcome to the ISSA Advocacy Recap, our regular roundup of the latest public policy issues impacting the cleaning industry. This week’s recap touches on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) providing updated worker safety guidance related to COVID-19, Democrats introducing legislation to raise the federal minimum wage, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approving US$35 billion in small business loans, and more.

Department of Labor Updates Workplace Guidance on Coronavirus
The U.S. Department of Labor announced today its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus protection program and better identify risks, which could lead to exposure and contraction. Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden directed OSHA to release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure. “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations and outlines existing safety and health standards. ISSA continues to closely monitor this important issue and looks forward to working with the new administration and Congress to safely reopen our economy.

Democrats Push $15 Minimum Wage Bill
Democrats in Congress seek to advance their longstanding goal of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, introducing legislation Tuesday that would do so over five years, NBC News reported. The legislation, while supported by many Democrats, faces opposition from Republicans and would be difficult to get through the evenly divided Senate. President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan contains a provision to raise the federal minimum wage from the current level of $7.25 an hour to the $15 minimum. The President also signed an executive order last week instructing the U.S. Department of Labor to develop recommendations on providing the $15 minimum wage to federal workers.

SBA: $35 Billion More in Pandemic Loans Approved
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Tuesday said it had approved 400,000 more pandemic relief loans worth $35 billion and was trying to fix operational issues with the program raised by lenders, according to Reuters. The SBA launched the third round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) this month but significant changes to its rules, process, and technology platform have caused problems that slowed approvals, a bank group said.

Straight Talk on Advocacy Efforts for the Cleaning Industry
In the latest edition of Straight Talk!, ISSA Director of Government Affairs John Nothdurft updates viewers on the association’s recent advocacy efforts. Nothdurft recaps the $900 billion pandemic-aid bill passed late last year and how ISSA worked to ensure the cleaning industry’s needs were included in the relief package. He also details ISSA’s efforts to address the expenses required to maintain a healthy and safe workplace via the inclusion of a cleaning tax credit in a future aid package.

Other links of interest