The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has posted revised regulations on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s (FFCRA’s) paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions. These revisions are made to clarify workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions following a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York which invalidated portions of the DOL’s April 1st temporary rule.

Revisions Take Effect on September 16, 2020

The FFCRA revisions become effective September 16, 2020, and do the following:

  • Reaffirm and provide an additional explanation for the requirement that an employee is not eligible for paid leave unless the employer would otherwise have work for the employee to perform. To be clear, the Department of Labor’s interpretation does not permit an employer to avoid granting FFCRA leave by purporting to lack work for an employee. The work-availability requirement for FFCRA leave should be understood in the context of the applicable anti-retaliation provisions, which prohibit employers from discharging, disciplining, or discriminating against employees for taking such leave.
  • Reaffirm and provide an additional explanation for the requirement that an employee has employer approval to take FFCRA leave intermittently.
  • Clarify that employees must provide required documentation supporting their need for FFCRA leave to their employers as soon as practicable.
  • Correct an inconsistency regarding when employees may be required to provide notice of a need to take expanded family and medical leave to their employers.
  • Revise the definition of “healthcare provider”, whom an employer may exclude from being eligible for FFCRA leave, to include only employees who meet the definition of that term under the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations or who are employed to provide diagnostic services, preventative services, treatment services or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care which, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care.

Addressing Challenges Workers and Employers Face

“As the economy continues to rebound, more businesses return to full capacity, and schools reopen, the need for clarity regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act paid leave provisions may be greater than ever,” said Wage and Hour Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “Today’s updates respond to this evolving situation and address some of the challenges the American workforce faces,” she said.

As employers continue to navigate the day-to-day challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, they need clear, concise, and consistent information to manage their business, support their employees, and find a sustainable path forward. The FFCRA helps by giving tax credits to American businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide employees with paid leave for certain reasons related to the coronavirus.

For an easy-to-read infographic on how much leave workers may qualify to use and what wages employers must pay, see the – DOL’s Wage and Hours Division (WHD)  Quick Benefits Tips.- The law enables employers to provide paid leave, reimbursed by tax credits, while at the same time ensuring workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

Read more about the revisions on the Federal Register website.

Have a question about accounting or tax issues related to the FFCRA, CARES Act, or PPP loan forgiveness? Our COVID-19 advisory team is here to help. And, if you’d like an overview of where you stand with PPP loan forgiveness, take our PPP Loan Forgiveness Quick Test and one of our professionals will recommend next steps.

 

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