The U.S. Department of Labor has just issued over one hundred pages of detailed temporary regulations, effective from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The regulations provide much-needed clarity on a range of issues that many employers have struggled with over the past week.
Below is a summary of key points:
The definition of “healthcare providers” under the FFCRA includes a wide variety of medical professionals and workers.
- The regulations caution that employers should be judicious when using the definition to exempt healthcare providers and emergency responders from leave.
- “Quarantine” order includes quarantine, isolation, containment, shelter-in-place, or stay-at-home orders issued by a federal, state, or local government causing an employee to be unable to work.
- Notably, an employee subject to one of these orders cannot take paid sick leave where the employer does not have work for the employee (i.e. the employer suffered a downturn in business due to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders).
- “Seeking a medical diagnosis” for purposes of paid sick leave, includes time spent making, waiting for, or attending an appointment for a test for COVID-19.
- Employers should require employees to provide the name of the healthcare provider advising self-isolation.
- However, if an individual is self-quarantining and teleworking, he or she is not eligible for paid sick leave.
- For those seeking leave to care for a child due to school closure or because a childcare provider is unavailable, the employer can require the employee to provide:
- The name of the child being cared for;
- The name of school or provider that has closed or is unavailable;
- A statement that no other suitable person can care for the child.
- Documentation of any leave, whether oral or written statements from the employee, should be maintained for four years.
- EPSL and EFMLEA may be taken intermittently as long as the employer and employee agree; absent agreement, no leave under FFCRA may be taken intermittently.
- For part-time employees who have varying schedules throughout the work week, the number of paid sick leave hours must be:
- Fourteen times the average number of hours the employee was scheduled to work per calendar day, over a 6 month period (or the entire period of employment, if employed less than 6 months).
Please give us a call if you have any questions regarding the regulations and any specific scenarios related to your workforce.