Last Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued new temporary rules on the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to address certain previously-implemented rules the Southern District of New York recently struck down. As background, check out our post from Aug. 6, 2020, describing the decision from the Southern District of New York. And by address, the DOL in fact decided to, as they put it, “reaffirm and provide additional explanation” for its position on furloughs and intermittent leave, which, on the whole, benefit FFCRA-covered employers.

Continue Reading These new rules look a lot like the old ones: DOL stands firm in response to SDNY decision in its revised FFCRA rules

On Aug. 3, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated several significant portions of a Department of Labor (DOL) Final Rule which employers had been relying upon to administer employee leave requests pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Although it is too early to know if the decision will be affirmed on appeal, or adopted by courts in other jurisdictions, employers should anticipate a renewed interest for FFCRA leave among employees previously  denied it or who believed it was unavailable. And those who continue to rely on the DOL’s rule to deny such requests will be doing so at their own risk.
Continue Reading Federal court muddies waters for employers navigating FFCRA leave issues

Since the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) passed in mid-March, small businesses have wondered how the U.S. Department of Labor would apply the act’s small business exemption from certain paid sick leave and supplemental family and medical leave benefits. With the Department of Labor’s recent release of its final rule interpreting the act, we finally have an answer.

Continue Reading Families First Coronavirus Act provides limited exemption for small businesses

On April 1, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a temporary rule interpreting the paid leave provisions under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). We will follow with more detailed thoughts on the rule, but the highlights include:

  • Key definitions, including “child care provider” (defined as including unpaid family caretakers in addition to paid child care settings) and “telework”
  • Discussion of interplay between “stay at home” orders and “isolation or quarantine” orders, and the availability of paid leave in connection with those orders
  • Clarification on employees’ options and employers’ ability to require use of paid time off concurrently with expanded FMLA leave for school closures
  • Key information for employers on determining exemptions for employees who are health care providers or emergency responders, and who therefore can be exempted from FFCRA coverage
  • Instructions on counting employees for purposes of FFCRA coverage
  • Elaboration on the exemption for employers with fewer than 50 employees
  • Documentation retention requirements and content for claiming the tax credits associated with the FFCRA
  • Clarification that employers not covered by the traditional FMLA are not subject to a private right of action from an employee under the expanded FMLA


Continue Reading Department of Labor issues “temporary rule” interpreting paid leave under FFCRA

Over the weekend, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated its Q&A page for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) ahead of the act’s April 1, 2020 effective date. This guidance provides employers with additional insight about how the DOL will enforce the FFCRA’s expanded Families and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and paid sick leave requirements. In this second piece of our three-part series, here is our look at the key points the new guidance provides.

Continue Reading The Department of Labor answers more questions about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) separately released a FAQ devoted solely to an employer’s posting obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Each covered employer must post a notice (available in English and Spanish) of the FFCRA requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. Where an employer has employees reporting directly to work in several different buildings, the employer must post all required federal notices in each building, even if the buildings are located in the same general vicinity.

Continue Reading DOL releases Families First Coronavirus Response Act poster and clarifies posting obligations