Key Issues

DOL Issues Guidance on Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA Leave Under COVID-19 Emergency Funding

March 24, 2020 (WASHINGTON INSIDER ALERT) - On March 24, the Department of Labor (DOL)'s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of guidance for employers and employees on the paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave provisions within the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the second emergency funding package passed by Congress in response to the COVID-19, or coronavirus, public health emergency. The WHD’s guidance includes a Fact Sheet for Employees, Fact Sheet for Employers, and Questions and Answers document.

The guidance follows a March 20 call DOL hosted on the FFCRA’s paid-leave provisions which allowed stakeholders to ask questions and comment on the provisions. While not all of the questions raised on the call have been answered, the FAQ document and corresponding guidance “addresses critical questions, such as:

  • how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage;
  • how small businesses can obtain an exemption;
  • how to count hours for part-time employees; and
  • how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.”

The guidance also provides new information regarding how the DOL will enforce the law providing for some leeway for employers during the first 30 days it is in effect: “The Department 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.”

The WHD clarified this will be the “first round” of guidance, and additional resources will likely be released later this week. In the footnotes of the employer fact sheet, the DOL stated that it is expected to issue a model employer notice no later than March 25 and regulations regarding the application of the law to employers with fewer than 50 employees in April. The WHD Administrator Cheryl Stanton stated, “With so many workers and so many employers struggling to find their way in these trying conditions, providing guidance on a rolling basis will allow workers and businesses to prepare for the law to go into effect on April 1, 2020.”

CUPA-HR will continue to distribute DOL’s guidance in a timely manner as it is released.

 

The CUPA-HR national office will be closed July 4 in observance of Independence Day.