On March 18th the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ( FFCRA) which provides for expanded FMLA and Emergency Paid Leave in certain limited circumstances related to the Coronavirus pandemic. You can read my recent blog posts on the FFCRA for more detail. Yesterday the DOL issued some guidance, which provided some clarity on a few issues, including the effective date of the FFCRA.
The DOL states that the FFCRA will be effective April 1st, which is one day earlier than everyone expected. This is not a case of the DOL changing the rules, since the FFCRA states that it will be effective “no later than 15 days from passage”. Still, you have one less day to prepare.
The DOL also clarified the following issues:
- Overtime must be included when calculating pay due to employees under the FFCRA
- Paid Sick Leave is capped at 80 hours
- Paid Sick leave and Expanded FMLA run concurrently
And, the DOL had this to say about the potential small business exemption from the FFCRA that I have had so many questions about:
If providing child care-related paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave at my business with fewer than 50 employees would jeopardize the viability of my business as a going concern, how do I take advantage of the small business exemption?
To elect this small business exemption, you should document why your business with fewer than 50 employees meets the criteria set forth by the Department, which will be addressed in more detail in forthcoming regulations.
You should not send any materials to the Department of Labor when seeking a small business exemption for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.
So, more details are forthcoming about the potential exemption, but apparently submitting information to the DOL in order to “apply” for the exemption will not be necessary.
The DOL is supposed to issue FFCRA regulations in April. Until then, you can get additional details from the DOL by accessing this link