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Coronavirus / COVID-19 Employment Issues # 5 – US DOL Guidance on Families First Act – (Fed. Sick / FMLA Leave) and MORE

by D. Gregory Valenza | | Mar 25, 2020

Hello, welcome to installment 5 of Coronavirus / COVID-19 Employment Issues for California Employers. Check the other installments at our blog here.   Note that we’ve updated our COVID-19 Resources page for employers as of today, March 25.  There’s key new stuff there. So bookmark it and keep going back to it.  We mark the updated materials  “NEW“.

Also, again, Jennifer Shaw is reprising her FREE webinar covering a number of important COVID-19 employment law matters, including FFCRA, WARN, and all the other key acronyms.  The new date is March 27. Sign up here.  The last one (on March 23) was fully subscribed.

This post is about the U.S. Department of Labor’s Guidance on the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  That is not to be confused with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The DOL has prepared a new web page for the FFCRA, which contains links to Fact Sheets, FAQs, Posters, and guidance for the DOL enforcement team.

Here are some key points, which we will update when time permits:

Poster:               There is a notice posting requirement. There are model posters, and guidance on dissemination.

Effective Date – The DOL says that the effective date of the federal sick leave and FMLA expansion is April 1, not April 2 as we previously stated.  This is important because….

Not retroactive – The laws are not retroactive. They apply to leaves begun on or after the effective date.  So, the laws should not apply to those employees that were laid off before due to shut-down orders, etc.

Employer Size –  The guidance addresses how to measure whether your business has 500 employees or less, which is the threshold for applicability of the FFCRA.

Small Employer Exemption:  There is some guidance for small employers (under 50 employees) seeking exemption from the law.  Basically, wait for the regulations to apply for exemption and do not send the DOL proof of hardship. The DOL anticipates issuing regulations in April.

There is more to these documents.  So, read them on the DOL site linked above. Consult with counsel.  As stated, we’ll delve in further as time permits.


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