DOL publishes rule implementing coronavirus leave law

DOL publishes rule implementing coronavirus leave law

Excerpted from HR Dive by Ryan Golden

Dive Brief:

•The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a temporary rulemaking April 1 implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FCCRA). The rule is effective through Dec. 31, the agency said.
•Among other things, the regulations make clear that an employee may elect to use — or an employer may require that an employee use — leave such as vacation or personal leave concurrently with expanded family and medical leave. The rules also outline notice requirements and make clear that employers are required to retain all documentation of FFCRA emergency paid leave requests for four years, regardless of whether leave is granted or denied. Employers seeking an exemption from the law will need to sufficiently demonstrate, through documentation, the burden on their business and show that they are exempt, DOL said.
•Additionally, to resolve inconsistencies between the FFCRA’s paid sick time and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions, DOL said it would set the unpaid period for emergency FMLA leave at two weeks, rather than 10 days. “As a practical matter, the unpaid period for employees who work regular Monday-through-Friday schedules would still be ten days because that is the number of days, they would work in two weeks,” DOL said.

Dive Insight:

The rule provides much-needed clarity around the FFCRA — the first-ever federal paid leave law to affect private-sector workers in U.S. history — at a critical time for small businesses and their workers. There are several sections in the rule for both parties to note.

First, the FFCRA’s paid sick time (the payout for which depends on how an employee uses it) may not be taken to care for a person with whom an employee does not have a personal relationship, DOL said. The person must be an immediate family member, roommate or a similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that creates an expectation that the employee would care for the person if he or she self-quarantined or was quarantined. That individual must also be (a) subject to a state, federal or local quarantine or isolation order; or (b) advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine on a belief that he or she has COVID-19, may have COVID-19 or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
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