On August 4,2020, judge J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated some sections of the DOL Final Rule regarding eligibility for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). See: New York v. U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 20-03020.
Specifically, the judge vacated sections of the DOL Final Rule that allowed some employers to deny workers paid sick leave if there was no work for them due to the pandemic-related economic downturn. The Court also ruled that the definition of "health-care provider" included in the Final Rule is "vastly overbroad" and eliminated the provisions requiring workers to get their employers' consent before taking intermittent leave and to document the reasons for taking sick leave in advance.
This decision opens the door to many employees who were denied leave, including health-care providers, to seek paid time off if they are ill or need to care for children. Although the decision is very likely to be appealed and/or the DOL Final Rule amended, employers should take note of the new interpretation and of potential new claims by eligible employees.