The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently made changes to the existing temporary rule regarding leave provisions and paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
The revised rule, which took effect September 11, 2020, clarifies employees’ rights and the responsibilities employers have related to this paid leave under the FFCRA. Under the revisions, clarification was made related to not what documentation was required when a worker must take leave under the FFCRA, but the timing of when the documentation and notification must be made to the employer.
The guidelines now assert that an employee must notify their employer “as soon as practical” and not necessarily requiring the worker to notify their employer of their absence beforehand.
Other revisions include the DOL’s decision to modify their stance on intermittent leave approvals. It is now required that an employee who wishes to use their benefits under the FFCRA for intermittent absences to have prior approval from their employee, however, the department indicates that the prior approval condition would not apply to employees who take FFCRA leave in full-day increments to care for their children whose schools are operating under hybrid-attendance basis.
The revisions, as included in the Press Release that became effective September 16, 2020 do the following:
- Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that employees may take FFCRA leave only if work would otherwise be available to them.
- Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that an employee have employer approval to take FFCRA leave intermittently.
- Revise the definition of “healthcare provider” to include only employees who meet the definition of that term under the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations or who are employed to provide diagnostic services, preventative services, treatment services or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care which, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care.
- Clarify that employees must provide required documentation supporting their need for FFCRA leave to their employers as soon as practicable.
- Correct an inconsistency regarding when employees may be required to provide notice of a need to take expanded family and medical leave to their employers.
What hasn’t changed with the FFCRA is the requirement that employers with fewer than 500 employees must pay sick leave of up to 80 hours to employees who need time off leave for certain coronavirus-related reasons. Employees may also be eligible for an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave at two-thirds their regular wages under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).
Learn more about the DOL FFCRA changes here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200911-2
Our HR Consultants at JB Consulting Systems realize how complicated these temporary leave laws can be to implement and manage. That’s why we have created a Leave Management Process and forms that may assist you during these difficult times.
Contact us at HRhelp for more information on these programs and packages.