The DOL Updates Its FAQs Related to the FFCRA and School Reopenings

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Patricia Tsipras

August 28, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) allows certain employees to take up to two weeks of paid sick leave and to take up to 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave – ten of which are paid­ – for specified reasons related to COVID-19.  An eligible employee can take both types of paid leave “because of a need to care for the employee’s son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.”

On August 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor updated its FFCRA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address whether FFCRA leave is available in various school reopening scenarios. Specifically, the FAQs address:

  • whether FFCRA leave is available if a child’s school is operating on a hybrid-attendance basis.  Yes.  An employee would be able to take FFCRA leave on days when his/her child is not permitted to attend school in person, as long as the employee needs the leave to care for the child on the remote learning days, and only if no other suitable person is available to do so.  See FAQ #98.
  • whether FFCRA leave is available if children have the option to attend school in person or to participate in remote learning.  No.  An employee would not be eligible for FFCRA leave because the school is not closed due to COVID-19-related reasons.  If, however, the child is under a quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate or self-quarantine, the employee may be eligible for leave.  See FAQs #99 and #63.
  • whether FFCRA leave is available if the school is beginning the school year with a remote learning program but is continuing to evaluate the possibility for in-person attendance later in the school year.  Yes.  An employee may take FFCRA leave while the school remains closed.  If the school reopens later in the school year, the availability of FFCRA leave will depend on the particulars of the school’s operations.  See FAQ #100.

Rubin Fortunato attorneys are available to answer your FFCRA and other COVID-19-related questions.

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