The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Act”). Additional information is available for employers and employees, as well as a Q&A page on the DOL website. Not all of the procedures have been clarified, but some important items have been addressed. A summary of the clarifications are as follows:
- The effective date is April 1, 2020 and applies to leave taken under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“Sick Leave Act”) AND the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (“Family Leave Act”) between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The Act will not be applied retroactively, therefore sick time or leave that was taken prior to April 1, 2020 will not be eligible for reimbursement from the U.S. Government under the provisions of the Act.
- When calculating pay due to employees, overtime hours the employee typically works must be included. However, the Sick Leave Act requires a limit of 80 hours over a two week period. So an employee that typically works 50 hours per week may take 50 hours in the first week and 30 hours in the second week.
- Each employee is allowed only 80 hours of paid sick leave total under the Sick Leave Act, even if there are multiple reasons/events that occur for that employee.
- The only employees eligible for an additional ten weeks’ pay under the Family Leave Act are employees that are unable to work because they must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 reasons. These employees must be employed for at least 30 calendar days to be eligible.
- The Department of Labor will observe a temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days after the Act takes effect, so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act. For purposes of this non-enforcement position, “good faith” exists when violations are remedied and the employee is made whole as soon as practicable by the employer, the violations were not willful, and the Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the Act in the future.
- The DOL expects to issue guidelines in April 2020 for employers with fewer than 50 employees to elect a small business exemption from the above requirements.
- The DOL website has also made available applicable posters regarding employee rights as it pertains to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These posters are required by law to be placed in a visible and easily accessible location for all employees to view.
More information and further guidance can be found here: