The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Sept. 11 announced revisions that impact how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is implemented, impacting both employer responsibilities and employee rights.
In response to a decision from a New York district court, the updated rule looks to clarify both the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave portions of the FFCRA.
Generally, the DOL wanted to clear up when paid sick leave is available and the circumstances under which employees must seek approval to use leave.
Find a refresher on the FFCRA on Employment Law News. The measure is set to expire at the end of 2020.
The revisions are set to take effect Sept. 16. Per the DOL, the clarifications and revisions include:
There Must Be Work to Do
Both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave can only be used if the employee would otherwise have work available. If a business is closed, an employee may not use the FFCRA.
Employers must approve intermittent leave under the FFCRA. If a school is using a hybrid model, for instance, the employee can use leave during the days when the school is closed. But if an employee opted to only take certain days or periods of time during a school closure, he or she would require the employer’s approval.
Blog: Back to School and the FFCRA
Definition of Health Care Provider
The definition of “health care provider” was revised to include only employees who meet the definition under the Family and Medical Leave Act or who are employed to provide:
- Diagnostic services
- Preventative services
- Treatment services
- Other services regarding patient care
Employees must provide required documentation supporting their need for FFCRA leave to their employers “as soon as practicable,” according to the DOL.
Lastly, federal officials corrected an inconsistency regarding when employees may be required to provide notice of a need to take expanded family and medical leave to their employers. Again, the revision allows for notice to be given as soon as it’s practical.
Blog: How COVID-19 Will Impact Future Paid Leave Laws
Paid Leave and the FFCRA
With about three and a half months until the FFCRA expires, there continues to be clarification needed in terms of how it’s implemented. The law was crafted quickly in response to the coronavirus pandemic, creating difficulties for employers as the specifics of employee use arose over the past few months.
While the recent revisions help clear up some aspects of the FFCRA, employers may have lingering questions.
The DOL’s Wage and House Division has created a Quick Benefits Tips resource for information:
- About how much leave workers may qualify to use
- Wages employers must pay