The Department of Labor (DOL) issued final temporary regulations April 1 related to the paid leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), including clarifications addressed through the CARES Act.
These regulations are temporary as they are set to expire December 31, 2020. The regulations generally apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees and address key provisions related to the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) requirements within the FFCRA that were effective April 1. This alert highlights the latest changes or clarifications from the DOL.
The DOL regulations designate what documentation the employee must provide when requesting EPSLA or EFMLEA leave.
- Generally, employees must provide a signed statement containing the employee’s name; dates for which leave is requested; the COVID-19 qualifying reason for leave; and a statement representing that the employee is unable to work or telework because of the qualifying reason.
- Additional documentation is required, depending on the reason for leave, and is very limited in scope.
- Employers may not ask for medical documentation or certification when an employee requests leave under EPSLA or EFMLEA.
- For leave taken under FMLA for an employee’s own serious health condition or to care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent with a serious health condition related to COVID-19, the normal FMLA medical certification requirements still apply.
The FFCRA requires private employers and covered public employers to provide paid sick time to an employee who is unable to work or telework for the below reasons. The regulations provide clarification around certain aspects of the six reasons for leave.
- The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine/isolation order related to COVID-19.
- Clarification provided: A quarantine/isolation order may include “quarantine, isolation, containment, shelter-in-place, or stay-at-home orders and situations where the government authority has “advised categories of citizens (e.g. of certain age ranges or of certain medical conditions) to shelter in place, stay at home, isolate, or quarantine.”
- The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
- Clarification provided: A health care provider may advise an employee to self-quarantine when the employee has or may have COVID-19 or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
- The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- Clarification provided: Defines symptoms of fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or others identified by the CDC.
- The employee is caring for an individual who is under a governmental quarantine or healthcare provider isolation order.
- Clarification provided: An “individual” may be an employee’s immediate family member, someone who regularly resides in the employee’s home, or a similar “relationship that creates an expectation that the employee would care for the person if he or she were quarantined or self-quarantined.”
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of childcare is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
- Clarification provided for EPSLA and EFMLEA: Employees must certify that another suitable individual is not available to provide care for the child.
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and other government officials.
Employers are required to provide information to employees regarding the benefits they are eligible to receive under the Act and may post the DOL’s notice to satisfy this requirement. Employers will need to establish procedures for employees requesting leave, including documentation requirements/forms, and tracking (e.g., new payroll codes) and recordkeeping requirements.
For more information
For more information, including helpful Q&A documents, a model poster and fact sheets, visit the DOL website.
Contact Carrie Cox using the information below with questions or for assistance with determining policy updates, procedures and forms, and general compliance assistance.
Information in this document has been obtained by Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C. from sources believed to be reliable. However, AGH does not guarantee the accuracy nor completeness of any information. This communication does not and is not intended to provide legal, accounting or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters, and accordingly, AGH assumes no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Nothing in this communication can be used to avoid penalties that may be imposed by a governmental taxing authority or agency.
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Carrie has experience in a variety of human resource functions, including labor laws, compensation structures, employee classification, benefits administration, performance management and human resource best practices. She has served clients in a number of industries, including manufacturing, construction, banking, government, and not-for-profits. Carrie is a member of the national and local chapters of the Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRM) and serves on the Wichita chapter board of directors.
She is a certified practitioner for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and the Hay Group’s Emotional and Social Competency Inventory. Her additional certifications include Certified Professional Coach from the Academy of Creative Coaching, Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resource Certification Institute, and SHRM-CP designated by the SHRM.