DISCLAIMER: Please take note that the FFCRA has recently been enacted (March 18, 2020) and there are still many questions remaining related to the interpretation of its provisions. Further, the Department of Labor is actively providing new guidance and explanations for enforcing the provisions of the FFCRA. This blog reflects our best effort to set forth frequently asked questions from our clients and an offering of our assessment thereof. We will provide updates as interpretation and practical use of the FFRCA unfolds. As this blog is meant to act only as a guide, you must still consult with your attorney prior to making any final decisions.
On March 18, 2020, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) was signed into law. The same went into effect on April 1, 2020. The FFCRA is a relief package that offers paid leave benefits to employees, which in turn, has an impact on employers. The FFCRA is broken up into divisions; however, the most prevalent divisions for employers include the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“Expanded FMLA”) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“Paid Sick Leave Act”).
The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has issued guidance, which includes explanations as to whether employers with businesses that have fewer than 50 employees might be exempt from having to comply with the Paid Sick Leave Act and/or the Expanded FMLA.
In summary, the guidance indicates the following:
The DOL has provided an objective criteria for when a small business with fewer than 50 employees can deny an employee paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to care for the employee’s son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, for Covid-19 related reasons. The criteria are as follows:
If an employer decides to deny paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to an employee whose child’s school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, the employer must document the facts and circumstances that meet the criteria above to justify such denial. However, the guidance notes that the employer should not send such material or documentation to the DOL, but rather should retain such records for its own files.
This Blog was written by Hunter Business Law Attorney Stephanie Boussias.
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