The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released a temporary rule regarding components of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Federal officials announced the regulations April 1 and made further technical corrections April 10.
The temporary rule relates to the emergency paid sick leave and family and medical leave portions of the FFCRA, which was signed into law March 18. Applying to companies with fewer than 500 employees, the measure went into effect April 1 and expires at the end of 2020.
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Find the full document on the Federal Register. Because it is a temporary rule, further clarifications could be on the horizon.
Other Employment Law News updates on the FFCRA:
The DOL affirmed that workers have to provide notice that they need to take leave, as well as documentation for requests. This applies to both paid sick leave and family and medical leave.
The documentation must include the name of the governmental body that issued the quarantine or the medical official who advised the employee to take leave because of issues with the coronavirus. A statement must also be provided, as well as the requested dates of leave.
Should an employee want to use family and medical leave, the notification from the worker must include the child’s name and school, and a statement that the employee is the only one who would be able to care for the child.
Employers must also keep copies of the documentation for four years.
Meanwhile, paid sick leave cannot be used if a company is shut down because of an official order. Employees who can telecommute, in a manner that they can complete the same level of work as they would otherwise, also don’t qualify.
Also, it can be taken if an employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 but hasn’t officially tested positive, though the worker must be trying to get evaluated by a medical professional.
Similarly, family and medical leave can’t be used if a business is closed because of a governmental order.
As a refresher, here’s how the FFCRA works.
For the first time in U.S. history, workers will receive paid leave from the federal government. Its use, however, is specifically tailored to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The FFCRA only applies to companies with fewer than 500 employees.
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Meanwhile, although paid family and medical leave is unpaid for the first 10 days, the paid sick leave would cover that timeframe.
- The bill’s emergency paid sick leave act component applies to all workers regardless of their length of employment
- Full-time employees are eligible for 80 hours of paid sick leave, which can be taken immediately; part-time employees are eligible for a pro-rata portion of this
- The amount of paid sick leave an employee can take is in addition to any paid time off policy an employer currently maintains
Under the paid family and medical leave portion of the bill, employees who have been employed for at least 30 days are eligible.
Meanwhile, they would not have to meet the standard requirements under the federal Family and Medical leave Act to be eligible for coronavirus related paid family leave. Those include:
- Having worked 1,250 hours
- Being employed for one year
- One of 50 employees working in a 75-mile radius
Under the new legislation, eligible employees could take up to 12 weeks of leave. The first 10 days would be unpaid, but employees could apply the 10 days of paid federal sick days to the unpaid family leave days. The remaining leave would be paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay.
Employees must be paid their regular rate of pay, capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for absences due to their own coronavirus-related absences. If their absence is to care for a family member or child, the employee is eligible for two-thirds of their regular rate of pay, capped at $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate.