DOL COVID-19 Leave Guidance for the Most Part, the “Old” Normal is Again the “New” Normal

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has addressed in regulatory fashion the uncertainty over who is entitled to leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  A New York federal judge created the uncertainty on August 2, 2020 by striking down several critical aspects of the DOL’s Final Rule implementing the FFCRA.  The new “temporary” rule takes effect September 16, 2020 and largely restates the original guidance given.

The FFCRA, which applies to most employers with under 500 employees, granted workers two weeks – up to 80 hours – of emergency paid sick leave at full pay if they are sick or have to quarantine, and the same allotment at partial pay if the workers have to care for sick family members or homebound children.  The law also granted additional partial paid expanded family and medical leave – up to 10 weeks – to employees who are unable to work (or telework) because their child’s school or day care provider has closed.  The FFCRA took effect April 1, 2020, and the DOL subsequently issued several rounds of interpretive guidance (including an expanding list of Q&As), which employers have relied on to date.

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~ by Michael C. Lord & Edward S. Schenk III