Sunday, March 29, 2020

DOL issues... you guessed it! Still more Q&A on FFCRA

Suffice it to say, you should get in the habit of checking the DOL News Releases and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers in particular. They just keep updating the Q&A. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining... I'll take all the guidance I can get!

Some highlights:
  • As suspected, employees only get 12 weeks of FMLA and EFMLA combined: "You may take a total of 12 workweeks for FMLA or expanded family and medical leave reasons during a 12-month period."
  • A "full-time employee" for emergency paid sick leave "is an employee who is normally scheduled to work 40 or more hours per week."
  • We have some guidance on who is a "health care provider" who may be exempted from EFMLA and paid sick leave, including "anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity."
  • Some clarification about the "small business" exception. It applies to employers with fewer than 50 employees, leave (paid sick leave or EFMLA) is requested because a child's school or daycare is closed, and an "authorized officer of the business" has determined that at least one of these three conditions is present:    
    1. The provision of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would result in the small business’s expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause the small business to cease operating at a minimal capacity; 
    2.  The absence of the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would entail a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or 
    3. There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed, to perform the labor or services provided by the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, and these labor or services are needed for the small business to operate at a minimal capacity.
I applaud DOL for providing so much guidance on such a short timeframe. We should get the actual regulations any day now. Stay tuned.

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