Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on FFCRA

The Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (DoL) has issued guidance on how to prepare and respond to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Specifically the DoL’s guidance deals with the two main components that will affect both employers and employees when it goes into effect on April 1, 2020. Those components are the expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Emergency Paid-Leave program. Both can have an effect on every gin.

The Paid Sick Leave component requires all employers provide two weeks (up to 80 hrs) of paid leave for employees that are quarantined because of a Federal, State or Local order or advice of health care professional. This employee would be paid at their full rate for the two weeks. If the employee must miss work to take care of an individual that is under quarantine or if they must take care of a child that is out of school or cannot find day-care due to Coronavirus issues, that employee would be paid at 2/3 regular rate of pay for the two weeks.

If the employee must miss work for taking care of a child that is out of school for the virus and adequate child care is not available, the expanded family medical leave act provisions provide for up to an addition 10 weeks of paid leave at 2/3 the regular rate.

The employers can get a credit for the expense of paying for this leave on the taxes they pay and the DoL asks that you refer to the Department of Treasury for their guidance on this relief but as yet they have not released any information.

Small businesses (less than 50 employees) may qualify for exemption from the requirements to provide leave due to school closings etc if the leave would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. This provision has been left up to the DoL. They are to issue rules about what this means and they have been given the authority to issue those rules without notice and comment period.

In the DoL Guidance, there are six reasons for Leave. The guidance explains each and how much time must be given for each reason and what the pay rate should be for each of the reasons. Please become familiar with the provisions. Additionally the guidance says that a NOTICE will be required to be posted but has not yet been developed. We expect it any time.